Bowery Boogie

Essex Crossing Spells the End for Lowline Lab After Just over a Year

Lowline Lab, October 2015

The Lowline Lab, essentially an advertisement for the proposed underground park of same, is on its way out. Last day hyping the project is this Sunday (February 26).

The experimental space at 140 Essex Street, situated at SPURA Site 8, lasted a year longer than initially planned and attracted more than 100,000 tourists. Lowline Lab only projected to remain operational five months from its debut in October 2015 but was allowed to stay open by Delancey Street Associates, the consortium of developers behind Essex Crossing.

Lowline co-founder Dan Barasch told DNAInfo last month that “we would prefer to keep the lab open longer, but we can’t.” Likely reason they can’t is due to Essex Crossing, its equal partner in Lower East Side gentrification.

Indeed, demolition and subsequent construction on Site 8 is expected to commence this June. The new building planned for the former Essex Market warehouse is exclusively for seniors. 92 studio apartments that are 100% “affordable.”

Lowline Lab when it opened, October 2015

As for the Lowline itself, the business has been gunning for the old trolley terminal since 2011, and is still in the preliminary phase of development. But it’s getting ever closer to reality. City officials announced their full support of the $83 million Lowline project last July, some five years after its conception. The backing came as the bureacracy created a dog-and-pony show to try and elicit proposals for the 60,000 square-foot vacant trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street. The Lowline was the only proposal (naturally).

If all conditions are met, and approval is granted, the lease on the space would be signed in the fall of 2018, and ground-break some two years later.