Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The city unveiled plans Wednesday to redevelop 1.65 million square feet in the Lower East Side, spread across nine city-owned lots. The project, known as Essex Crossing, calls for 1,000 units of mixed-income housing as well as retail, office, school and park space. There are also plans to open an Andy Warhol museum.
Five of the Manhattan sites were demolished in 1967 as part of the federal urban renewal program, and have been used for parking since then.
“We're now about to use this land for the new housing, jobs and open space Lower Eastsiders want and need and deserve,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, speaking at an announcement in a warehouse on Delancey Street.
Essex Crossing is the result of coordination between various city agencies and Community Board 3. But long-time Lower East Side resident Pete Cordero, 60, said he fears the development will drive up prices and local taxes.
“We don't really know if we'll be able to hack it because everything's going up, so its going to be just for the rich pretty soon,” he said.
Other residents expressed concerns about bad traffic and crowded subway stations, and feared the development will only exacerbate those problems.
Overview of project (Courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office).
Groundbreaking is expected for spring 2015 with the entire project completed by 2024.
The Essex Street Market is slated for an upgrade as part of the plans. Cutting a chicken at the Heritage Meat Shop, manager Emilie Frohlich, 35, said it's difficult to move and “anytime you move your business people can’t find you.”
But she remains optimistic. “I hate to see the look of things change. I like old things,” she said. “I think the Lower East Side tends to hang on to its grit regardless of what shiny things try to do to it. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Renderings of the Andy Warhol Museum by SHop Architects for the Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side (Courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office).
Renderings of rooftop urban garden by SHop Architects for the Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side (Courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office).
Empty lots on the left and new developments like the Blue condos on the right side of Delancey Street (Stephen Nessen/WNYC).
Renderings of Broome Street by SHop Architects for the Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side (Courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office).