About that 47-Story Tower Down by Extell on the Waterfront

Posted on: March 9th, 2016 at 5:18 am by

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The now-closed Pathmark Pharmacy, October 2012

​Drama down on the Lower East Side waterfront. While Extell’s 80-story market-rate phallus (aka One Manhattan Square) ascends to sights unseen, the neighboring Pathmark Pharmacy site remains in contention for another potential tower. Despite the ongoing litigation.

Roy Schoenberg (pka Little Cherry LLC) previously partnered with Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund to construct a 47- story residential (mixed income) tower at 237-247 Cherry Street. But TBNC, which owns the land beneath the brick box, backed out of the deal. The sudden action was suspicious, and potentially due to what could be an alleged courtship with Extell, one that ultimately triggered a $50 million lawsuit from Schoenberg.

You see, Extell bought out the remainder of the lease to the Pathamark Pharmacy half of the building (until 2044), and probably wants to acquire the land itself. Indeed, Gary Barnett even mentioned plans to develop the property during his first meet-and-greet with the community two years ago. As leaseholder for the other half, Schoenberg’s initital proposal stands in the way of that goal. So, it’s not such a long-shot to imagine the potential backroom dealing.

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Word on the street is that Two Bridges Neighborhood Council recently sent a letter to Community Board 3 regarding the Chinatown Working Group zoning proposal and its treatment of the waterfront (Subsection D). The nonprofit specifically asked for no height caps in the area. Mind boggling, as it could eventually lead to a wall of glass along the South Street waterfront. We’re also told that the residents of Two Bridges Tower (82 Rutgers), at one point, proposed a bi-level, affordable supermarket for this vacant building, but were rejected by TBNC.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned lawsuit is still pending, so the development is very much on the back burner, but could still happen in the near future. After all, plenty of big money is at stake here…

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Below are some vital stats about the Little Cherry project at 237-247 Cherry, should it happen:

  • The Cherry Street tower would cantilever over half of the existing pharmacy building (due to Extell’s lease), effectively blocking sunlight for the senior building at 80 Rutgers.
  • This project, combined with Extell’s 80-story behemoth, would immediately add approximately 3,000 new condominium owners to a single block, in an area deemed a flood zone.
  • TBNC is using every method possible to prevent this from the UULRP/public review process. Two members of its staff were appointed last year to Community Board 3. One is on land use.
  • Locals must already suffer the Extell nightmare, so adding another super-tall construction would worsen quality of life immeasurably.

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