Essex Crossing

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Essex Crossing
Essex crossing.jpg
Official rendering of Essex Crossing buildings at Essex and Delancey Streets
Address Centered around Essex Street and Delancey Street, New York, NY 10002
Coordinates 40°43′08″N 73°59′35″W / 40.7188°N 73.9930°W / 40.7188; -73.9930Coordinates: 40°43′08″N 73°59′35″W / 40.7188°N 73.9930°W / 40.7188; -73.9930
Status Planned
Groundbreaking 2015
Estimated completion 2021–24
Developer SHoP Architects; Taconic Partners
Owner Essex Crossing NYC
Manager Essex Crossing NYC
Technical details
Cost $1.1 billion

Essex Crossing is a planned mixed-use development in New York City's Lower East Side, part of the existing area known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA).[1]

The development, at the intersection of Delancey Street and Essex Street, will comprise 1.9 million square feet of space,[2] and be started in spring 2015 with a projected partial completion of 2021[3][4] and construction scheduled to last until 2024.[4] The development will cost an estimated US$1.1 billion.[5] It will sit on a total of nine city blocks, most of them razed in the 1970s.[6][7]

The project, originally approved as a component of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area in October 2012, is expected to create 1,000 housing units, 1,000 permanent jobs, and 5,000 construction jobs. The project, overseen by architect SHoP[8] and developer Taconic Partners, will see built a 60/40 mix of residential and commercial space; created 500 units of permanently affordable housing for low-, moderate-, and middle-income households, and senior housing; and allocated 15,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.[9]

The idea for the six-acre development was presented to the public in September 2013 by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on a site that was occupied by parking lots at the time (the area formerly contained tenements, which were demolished in 1967).[10][11]


Seward Park Urban Renewal Area[edit]

Site of the Essex Crossing, with the Blue Tower in the background, Essex Street Market to the left, and the intersection of Essex and Delancey Streets in the foreground. All of the buildings in the foreground will be replaced in the project (photo: September 2013)

Historically, the Lower East Side was an immigrant neighborhood, including Germans, Irish, Italians, and Hispanics; Essex Crossing was envisioned during the neighborhood's period of gentrification,[12] but this part of the Lower East Side is an area alternatively known as SPURA, which has been up for development since the mid-1960s. SPURA which covers five vacant plots of land acquired as part of a 1965 urban renewal plan, near Delancey and Grand Streets. These sites were originally part of the broader Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, a federal program designed to tear down several tenements to develop low-income housing, called the Cooperative Village. Some original SPURA land was eventually developed, but five lots remain vacant to this day.[13] As SPURA was the largest tract of undeveloped New York City-owned land in Manhattan south of 96th Street,[14] deciding what the “appropriate redevelopment” of SPURA would be has stalled the process and kept it undeveloped.

In 1967, New York City leveled 20 acres on the southern side of Delancey Street and removed more than 1,800 low-income largely Puerto Rican families, with a promise that they would return to new low-income apartments when they were built. However, political corruption abounded, and the new apartments were never built.[11][11] The competing forces within the neighborhood had been debating whether the SPURA area should be used to develop affordable housing within Manhattan Community Board 3, whether some mixed use – low and middle income as well as commercial – or all large commercial retail should be created. This debate is often waged in the community halls of local public school auditoriums and other city meeting places, in newspaper columns,[15][16] at coop board meetings, and at private strategy sessions in individual homes.

During the Koch administration that ended in 1989, the city contracted with Sam LeFrak to build,[17] but massive divided opposition caused it to be withdrawn. The land still sits vacant in 2012.

In January and February 2011, the local community board took the issue of SPURA's development up and came to a community consensus that the area will be built to accommodate mixed use of low income housing, commercial properties/retail spaces and market value homes.[18] The Board, community and city planners and public officials will finalize the plans for development.[19]

On October 11, 2012, the New York City Council approved the project, then still referred to as SPURA, in a unanimous vote.[9] On September 18, 2013, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a definite plan for the Essex Crossing project.[10]

Construction progress[edit]

In June 2014, demolition of structures in the area commenced, to make way for the development.[20]

On August 2, 2014, it was revealed that a municipal parking lot at Broome and Essex Streets would be closed for soil testing and for planning of the future Warhol museum. Groundbreaking for the crossing was said to come as early as spring 2015, though a definite groundbreaking timeline has not been published.[21] On December 31, another parking lot was closed, this time a private one on Suffolk Street.[22]

Final designs for Essex Crossing will be released on January 14, 2015. The Essex Street Market and a firehouse on Broome Street will be demolished by early 2015.[23]


Upon its completion, it will comprise the Essex Street Market, restaurants, office space, a movie theater, and a park.[10][24]

Ultimately, Essex Crossing, split among ten sequentially numbered lots, will be built on the east side of Essex Street between Stanton and Delancey Streets (lots 8, 9, and 10); the municipal parking lot at Broome and Essex Streets (lot 7); an area bounded by Attorney, Broome, Essex, and Delancey Streets (lots 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6); and a block bounded by Grand, Clinton, Broome, and Suffolk Streets (lot 5).[23]



Existing Seward Park towers

There are both public housing and condominiums in the area:

  • Public housing: In the SPURA area, the Seward Park Housing Corporation, part of the Cooperative Village, is located in the triangle between Grand Street and East Broadway, and abuts Seward Park. The buildings, designed by Herman Jessor,[25] were finished in 1959.
  • Condominiums: The Blue Tower at 105 Norfolk Street in the SPURA area, designed by Bernard Tschumi, opened in 2007 with 32 condominium apartments over 16 stories, a ground floor commercial space occupied by the Thierry Goldberg Gallery, and a roof terrace for residents on the third floor, using a common setup with commercial space at the ground floor with residential space above. The Blue Tower is not LEED certified. The tower had a characteristic slant that sets it apart from other buildings in the vicinity.[26]

Essex Street Market[edit]

Essex Street Market, pre-reconstruction

The Essex Street Market is an indoor retail market that was one of a number of such facilities built in the 1930s under the administration of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia at 120 Essex Street, at Delancey Street. The Essex Street Market, which was a group of markets constructed in the 1940s[27] to reduce pushcart congestion on the narrow streets of the Lower East Side, is operated and managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) market is made up of approximately 35 individual stalls that range in size from 90 to 600 square feet (8 to 60 m2).[28]

It was in September 2013 that it was announced that the market would be integrated into the Essex Crossing.[10] The new building will have 39 stalls and two restaurants.[23]

Essex Street municipal parking lot[edit]

An existing parking garage at 107 Essex Street, north of Delancey Street, is also being renovated as part of the redevelopment plan. Originally slated to be converted into housing under an idea by Councilwoman Margaret Chin, it was dropped from the project and later put back on.[29][30]


Broome Street park[edit]

Part of the development includes a new public park on Broome Street between Suffolk and Clinton streets, spanning 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2).[31]

The park, which is part of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, will start construction in early 2015 with an estimated completion of 2017.[5] The park, contrary to other city parks, will only be 35% planted, with open spaces, signage, bike racks, and skateboard-proof park benches.[5] It will include a playground for toddlers, in anticipation of a new primary school nearby.[32]

Lowline park[edit]

Main article: Lowline (park)

The large trolley terminal under Delancey and Essex Streets has sat unused for 60 years,[33] and a new park is being proposed there.[34][35]

The project was first proposed in 2011 and has quickly generated widespread media attention. In 2012, the project successfully raised over $150,000 from 3,300 backers on Kickstarter to create a full-scale exhibition of the solar lighting technology.[36] The project was named by Mashable as one of the top Kickstarter projects of that year.[37] If completed, it would be within the Essex Crossing development


Half of the 1,000 units[1] to be constructed at the crossing will be affordable housing.[24] While five buildings will be completed as early as 2018, the entire housing complex will not be completed until 2021.[4]

Housing on lots 1, 2, 5, and 6 will be completed first, in fall 2015, followed by Lot 8 in fall 2016 and lots 3 and 4 in spring 2017; lots 9 and 10 will be finished last, between 2019 and 2022. Most of the housing will be on lots 1, 2, 5, and 6, which will start construction in early 2015. They will have a combined 556 units, including 311 affordable units and 100 for senior residents. There will also be 155 condominiums, with 37 or 38 of them affordable.[23]

Warhol museum[edit]

An annex to the main Pittsburgh museum,[38] the Warhol building, which will be 10,000 square feet (930 m2), was scheduled to open by 2017.[4][39] Delancey Street Associates will pay for the museum's construction, while for the first five years, Essex Crossing's developers, Taconic Partners, will pay the museum's bills.[40][41]

The new museum will take up an existing parking lot, and will potentially take up the 75 Essex Street building, a building at the corner of Broome and Essex Streets that some locals are fighting to have landmarked. It was reported that Taconic offered 75 Essex Street's owners a huge sum to redelvelop the building as part of the museum.[14]

Plans for this museum were canceled in March 2013. [42]

Movie theater[edit]

In October 2014, a 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) movie theater, with 14 screens, was announced.[43] It will be at Delancey and Essex Streets and operated by Regal Cinemas.[44] There will be digital cinema projectors and recliners with padded footrests, among other amenities. It will begin construction in spring 2015 and be completed by 2017 or 2018.[45]

Political controversy[edit]

The SPURA area, now the Essex Crossing's site, was kept empty, except for parking lots, since 1967 due to suspected political alliances.[11]

In 1977, then-to-be-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) head William "Bill" Rapfogel accompanied then-mayor Edward Koch through the area, promising to turn some 20 acres (8.1 ha) of barren land on Delancey Street's south side into a never-delivered development that had displaced more than 1,800 residents a decade before.[11]

Rapfogel and Silver were accused of promoting specific plans for favored developers, which would maintain the area's Jewish identity, at the expense of other communities. They opposed a 1970s plan for affordable housing, which would have changed the demographics of the neighborhood and brought in more Chinese and Hispanic residents. Silver instead proposed a shopping center with no housing for the site in the 1980s. In the 1990s, they proposed a “big box” store, like Costco, to be built by Bruce Ratner, a developer. Ratner hired Rapfogel's eldest son, Michael, in 2007. Ratner also helped raise $1 million for the Met Council.[11][46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project". NYCEDC. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Essex Crossing". Grand St Settlement. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Essex Crossing". Taconic Investment. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Essex Crossing Development Plans Set To Change Lower East Side, Will Cost $1.1 Billion (IMAGES)". Huffington Post. September 18, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "SPURA park will offer art, nature and relaxation". The Villager. July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ Arino, Lisha (May 22, 2014). "Community Invited to Give Input on Essex Crossing Park". DNA Info. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Map - Essex Crossing NYC". Essex Crossing NYC. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Project Page". Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Dillon, Kit (October 12, 2012). "The SPURA has landed". New York Observer. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Bagli, Charles V. "City Plans Redevelopment for Vacant Area in Lower Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Buettner, Russ (March 23, 2014). "They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  12. ^ Christopher Mele. “Selling of the Lower East Side: Culture, Real Estate, and Resistance in New York City.” Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Print. 2000.
  13. ^ Kurutz, Steve (November 30, 2003). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: LOWER EAST SIDE; A Plan for Five Vacant Lots Gets Plenty of Vacant Stares". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Alberts, Hana R. (February 28, 2014). "SPURA Megaproject May Devour Embattled Essex St. Building". Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Seward Park Urban Renewal Area SPURA". Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  16. ^ "SPURA". Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  17. ^ Oser, Alan S. (July 8, 1990). "Perspectives: Changeover in the Housing Agency; Putting a Dinkins Imprint on a Koch Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ Sussman, Lesley (March 9–15, 2011). "SPURA design will try to 'maximize light and air'". The Downtown Express. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Seward Park". New York City Economic Development Corporation. 
  20. ^ "Tenants prepare to clear out for Essex Crossing demolition". The Real Deal. June 26, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Municipal Lot at Ludlow and Broome Closing for 'Soil Samples' Ahead of Essex Crossing Development". Bowery Boogie. August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Suffolk Street Parking Lot Closes Dec. 31 to Make Way For Essex Crossing". Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b c d "Essex Crossing Update: Renderings Set For January Release, Demolition Looming". Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Project Page". ShopArc. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ Bagli, Charles V. "Spotlight on Architect's Work In Wake of a Garage Collapse", New York Times, January 19, 1999.
  26. ^ "BLUE by Bernard Tschumi opens on Manhattan's Lower East Side". January 27, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Essex Street Market History". Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Essex Street Market". New York City Economic Development Corporation. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  29. ^ Kusisto, Laura (July 7, 2014). "New York Councilwoman Wants Garage Turned Into Affordable Housing". Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  30. ^ Jeremiah Budin (July 8, 2014). "Margaret Chin Stirs Up Trouble with Garage Conversion Idea - No Parking". Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Essex Crossing Park to Have Play Area, Native Plantings, Abundant Seating". The July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Essex Crossing Park to Feature Toddler Playground and Native Plants". July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  33. ^ "The Low Line". New York magazine. September 26, 2011. 
  34. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. "Inspired by High Line, Park Is Envisioned With Sights Set Low", The New York Times, November 21, 2011; accessed November 21, 2011.
  35. ^ "Plans for Delancey Underground "Low Line" Presented to CB3". Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  36. ^ "LowLine Creators Reach Initial Fundraising Goal On Kickstarter". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  37. ^ "10 Kickass Kickstarter Projects From 2012". Mashable. December 10, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  38. ^ Cheng, Susan (May 19, 2014). "A Branch of the Andy Warhol Museum Will Open in New York's Lower East Side in 2017". Complex. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  39. ^ Cascone, Sarah (May 19, 2014). "Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum Is Expanding to New York". Artnet. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  40. ^ Marylynne Pitz (May 17, 2014). "lans for Warhol Museum branch in NYC move ahead". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Andy Warhol Annex at Essex Crossing: Developers Picking Up the Bill". May 19, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Actually, New York Will Not Be Getting a Branch of The Andy Warhol Museum Read". Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Plans Filed For 24-Story Essex Crossing Tower; 14 Screen Theater Planned (Updated)". Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  44. ^ "Long-planned LES project inks first tenant". Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  45. ^ "14-Screen Movie Theater With Electronic Recliners Coming to Lower East Side". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  46. ^ Alberts, Hana R. (March 21, 2014). "Political Cronyism That Delayed SPURA For So Long Exposed". Curbed. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]