JDS’ Proposed 1,000-Foot LES Tower Halted Due to Ongoing Lawsuit

Posted on: July 7th, 2016 at 5:10 am by
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In one swift move, the city last month halted what could become the tallest building on the Lower East Side. JDS Development and SHoP Architects cannot proceed with their proposed 1,000-foot residential tower down on the waterfront until an ongoing lawsuit involving the old Pathmark Pharmacy site is settled.

Department of City Planning reportedly penned a letter to the developers last month warning as much.

“It has come to our attention that rights to use the floor area required for this project is in dispute,” wrote Edith Hsu-Chen, the director of City Planning’s Manhattan office, in a letter to Michael Stern, the chief executive of JDS, and obtained by Crain’s.

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Note the egregious stilts and cantilever

Past transgressions have come back to haunt Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund, which co-owns the land in question (i.e. 247 Cherry Street). Despite news about the $51 million sale of 500,000 square-feet of air rights, project renderings, the planned 600 rental units, and community center for this cantilevering beast, developers Gary Spindler and Roy Schoenberg (aka Little Cherry Developoment LLC) are still the proverbial wedge.

These two previously partnered with Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund to construct a 47-story residential tower at 237-247 Cherry Street. The community groups had agreed to unload the Pharmacy/Rent-a-Center site to Schoenberg and Spindler for an estimated $4 million, but later reneged on the deal, triggering a $50 million lawsuit. (Little Cherry owns the lease on half the retail; Extell has the other half through 2044.)

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Here’s more from the dispatch in Crain’s:

Developers Gary Spindler and Roy Schoenberg are suing nonprofits Settlement Housing Fund and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council for backing out of their deal to sell to them 235 Cherry St., a site adjacent to JDS’ project. Instead, Settlement Housing Fund and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council each worked out separate deals to sell development rights from 235 Cherry St. to JDS. The extra rights would allow JDS to build its 500,000-square-foot tower at 80 Rutgers Slip.

Attorneys from Herrick Feinstein, the law firm representing Spindler and Schoenberg in the suit, said the deal with JDS would deprive Spindler and Schoenberg of the development rights they need for the roughly 300,000-square-foot mixed-use project they are planning at 235 Cherry St. JDS’ project, a skyscraper propped on stilts that would literally sit above an existing 10-story apartment building, would cantilever over 235 Cherry.

It’s not like the Little Cherry tower is much wanted, either. However, it’s good to see that delays will stave off any development here – Extell is probably happy as a pig in shit – in the immediate future.

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