Two Bridges Developers Respond to New Lawsuit Against the City

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 at 5:04 am by

Photo: SHoP Architects

Friday morning, a coalition of concerned neighbors and grassroots organizations under the umbrella Lower East Side Organized Neighbors, filed a lawsuit against the city in State Supreme Court to halt the construction of three new skyscrapers along the Two Bridges waterfront. The ultimate goal is preventing a wall of glass and implementing the decade-old, grassroots Chinatown Working Group zoning proposal.

Now, the three developers behind the gold rush – obviously with everything to lose – are responding.

A spokesperson from Risa Heller Communications relayed the following response on behalf of the aforementioned developers:

At a time when projects delivering tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in community investment are being opposed by anti-development sentiment across the city, it’s important to remember what’s at stake here, all proposed after years of community consultation, public review and environmental analysis, and in compliance with zoning that’s been in place for more than 30 years.

First, the projects would create nearly 700 units of permanently affordable housing, which comes as the city approaches 9 million residents and the creation of housing of all types is critical to alleviating the inevitable pressure on the city’s existing housing stock. At the same time, the projects would deliver $40 million in upgrades to the East Broadway subway station that will make it ADA-accessible for the first time, $12.5 million in essential repairs to the local NYCHA complex and $15 million in upgrades to three public parks in the neighborhood. Without our projects, all that investment goes away.

We look forward to the swift resolution of this baseless lawsuit and to starting construction.

As previously reported, JDS and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council will erect a 1,008-foot rental building that cantilevers over a senior center, designed by SHoP Architects (247 Cherry Street); L+M and CIM will build a 798 and 728-foot tower beast in the parking lot behind Lands End II, designed by Handel Architects (260 South Street); and Starrett will impart a 724-foot tower, designed by Perkins Eastman (259 Clinton Street). The developments will together flood the neighborhood, largely low-income, with some 3,000 additional apartments.

The lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, alleges that the city illegally approved plans for the incoming skyscrapers. Back in December, the City Planning Commission voted 10-3 to approve the application for the three new developments, which the city said amounted to a “minor modification” of local zoning rules.

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