NIMBY Lawsuits Fail Against Two Bridges Supertalls, On Manhattan’s Lower East Side

247 Cherry Street and 252 South Street, image from JDS247 Cherry Street and 252 South Street, image from JDS

This week the New York State Court of Appeals shut down a lawsuit opposing the development of four new skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan’s Two Bridges neighborhood, as reported in The Broadsheet. This legal move upheld the August ruling by Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in favor of a group of developers, including JDS Development Group, CIM Group, L+M Development Partners, and Starrett Corporation, to build four more towers along the Two Bridges waterfront on the Lower East Side. The site is bound by Cherry Street to the north, South Street to the south, mid-block between Pike Slip and Rutgers Street to the west, and mid-block between Clinton and Montgomery Streets to the east.

Rendering shows Two Bridges waterfront with several proposed large-scale buildings. Credit: SHoP Architects.

Rendering shows Two Bridges waterfront with several proposed large-scale buildings. Credit: SHoP Architects

In 2018, Manhattan Borough president Gale A. Brewer and the New York City Council challenged the proposal’s approval by the City Planning Commission on the basis that the new construction required special permits and had to undergo the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process. A lower court decision in 2019 ruled in favor of Brewer.

Now, according to the State Court of Appeals, plans for four new supertalls will face an easier review process and could add more than 2,700 residential units to the area. The buildings include a 730-foot-tall building at 259 Clinton Street by Starrett, a 1,008-foot-tall rental tower at 247 Cherry Street developed by JDS, and a two-tower development rising 798 feet at 260 South Street co-developed by CIM and L+M. Community additions include 690 affordable housing units as part of the residential component, $15 million in local park improvements, $12.5 million to rehabilitate a neighborhood NYCHA complex, and a $40 million improvement project to the East Broadway subway station.

YIMBY will follow these projects for status updates and updated timelines.

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53 Comments on "NIMBY Lawsuits Fail Against Two Bridges Supertalls, On Manhattan’s Lower East Side"

  1. Just more towers that will sit vacant like One Manhattan Square. Aside from being completely out of context, who wants to live in uber-luxury housing in that location?

    • Apparently enough people to convince a bank to finance the project?

      Also, “sit empty”? Do you really believe the words you are saying?

      • Look up One Manhattan Square. It’s a disaster for the same reasons that luxury at this location would be. Too long a walk to the subway, no diversity of quality restaurants, etc, and surrounded by NYCHA and Mitchell Lama housing.

        Given the glut of similar housing in Manhattan who’s going to pay top dollar to live there?

        • Cheesemaster200 | April 2, 2021 at 10:05 am | Reply

          Nobody, which is why prices are coming down in One Manhattan Square, making it (more) affordable for people to purchase an apartment in the city.

          If there is truly a glut of high-end apartments in this city that cannot be sold at their current prices then the inevitable outcome is a price reduction. There are 811 apartments in One Manhattan Square alone. In my opinion that is good for a city with perennial low housing inventory inventory.

          Whether or not Extel loses their shirt on the endeavor is really not my concern.

        • So perhaps they were just overpriced. Are you suggesting these towers will still be “disasters” after a free market price adjustment? And if so, what does that have to do with the new tower development as it is not being marketed as “ultra luxury”?

          It’s funny these notions that these developers still are going to be making money hand over fist even after they lower prices to reach full occupancy. What is the construction cost to sell out amount percentage… like 20-30 percent once recouped?

          • t’s funny these notions that these developers still are NOT going to be making money hand over fist even after they lower prices to reach full occupancy.

    • You should move to California, you sounds like you would *really* enjoy the housing crisis there.

  2. Supertalls? Is there more than one now? Or are we just playing loose with language at camp YIMBY again, cuz who cares about editorial accuracy?

  3. Who said these are going to be uber-luxury housing? They are going to be workforce middle class rentals plus affordable housing. One Manhattan Square is a luxury condo. Two completely different products. You should really do your homework before opening your mouth and sounding like an idiot.

    • What the hell does “workforce middle class rentals ” supposed to mean?? Where did you come up with that line of BS?
      165% of AMI is not affordable housing but market rate which is why these buildings will sit empty just like one Manhattan square

  4. Take that NIMBYs! I’m really eager to see what comes out of this development now! I think it’ll be really cool.

    • Agree, Thomas. This will improve that area significantly and the skyline improves as a result. Very exciting news. Obviously developers are playing the long game, especially with BDB on his way out as Mayor. Never bet against NYC.

      • Steveo
        More out of scale, ugly, out of context glass boxes scarring the waterfront. Listen to Mr. Baker
        165% of AMI isn’t affordable housing and piling glass boxes on top of each other is ridiculous.
        They will sit empty like one Manhattan square and scar the waterfront forever.
        I hope they build a skyscraper right next door to where you live and then we will see you become a NIMBY also.
        What hypocrites.

        • “scarring the waterfront”…

          What?

          You prefer the perfect interplay with the current midcentury econoboxes?

      • I fail to see how these blds are going to improve the area. Its surrounded by NYCHA projects and THATS not going to change any time soon if ever. On top of which you have only one train station (F train) which is already crowded to begin with or you have to walk all the way to the #6 near City Hall. That train is not nearby unless the blds are going to be offering a shuttle service. At anyrate, I don’t see this as being a successful or especially profitable outcome for the developers and such. Personally, I will say I can’t afford to buy a condo or even rent there, but if I had that kind of money, I would DEFINITELY buy or rent elsewhere.

    • I hope they build a skyscraper right next door to where you live and then we will see you become a NIMBY also.
      What hypocrites.

      • Ah the typical NIMBY blinders: assuming because THEY feel a certain way about development than EVERYONE else must feel that way too.

        • Shane C Keena | April 2, 2021 at 11:52 pm | Reply

          Wonder what the MAS will say? Sorry, I’m drunk, that’s why this is short.

        • I wish they would build skyscrapers near me. Unfortunately the NIMBYs prevent anything from being built (and then complain about the high price of housing).

          • Yeah right! I would love to live in a 40+ story tower with views of the green mountains and lake Champlain. ITS ILLEGAL TO BUILD IT.

  5. These towers look like giant Sequoias standing in a flower bed! No relation to the scale of their surrounding neighborhood, but on the other hand they are
    “bridge close”! 🤣

    • The “scale of the neighborhood”…?

      We’re not talking about 19th century townhouses here. The “neighborhood” is 20+ floor buildings that were ugly and out of place the day they were built.

    • No neighborhood is being destroyed here so you don’t need to pretend that the current neighborhood is somehow akin to the Village.

  6. Lol @ all the commenters complaining about tall buildings being out of scale in Manhattan.

  7. At some point, with enough tall buildings, what was “out of context” becomes “in context.” That’s what the current low income residents are worried about. I’ve been at most of the CB3 meetings over the past year, virtually, or before the lockdown, in person (virtually is much more convenient!).
    Our consortium has a special interest in the project area, just a few blocks from where we want to develop too.
    But our development is on an entirely different scale, offering 2,300 60% of AMI extra large affordable units vs. 694 maybe not-so-affordable units in the LSRD (this is unclear, according to the community groups in opposition; they say the developers have not committed to any specific AMI bracket, and it could be as high as 165% AMI, which is basically market rate).
    We can beat that because of economies of scale in a project that would offer 7,630 units total, 70%/5,330 units, at market rate.
    I can’t leave a URL here, but look up RiverArch (one word) on Youtube for a video, or in the Angel Investment Network (along with downloadable docs), or check out the headline article in The Broadsheet from Dec. 19, 2019. We are talking to investors, lawyers, lobbyists, NOW.
    Large, successful, projects that meet both community needs, and investor ROI needs, are still possible. But you have to be willing to think out-of-the-box, not just stack more luxury boxes higher. This is not a criticism of the LSRD; we are officially neutral on that project. It’s just a realization that building in NYC is going to be harder than ever, with multiple parties newly and equally empowered. Things change…

  8. It’s Manhattan, build tall towers that’s fine. But I’m against these towers because they’re ugly. One Manhattan Square’s primary facade of glass cysts is an eyesore that outshines (literally) it’s more interesting base & louvered facades. I can look at the water – I don’t need a facade to poorly mimic it’s ripples.

  9. Yeah, I see loads of people willing to pay our thousands in rent/maintence to live a mile from the nearest subway.

  10. Prime real estate. Directly next to a NYCHA complex. SMH

  11. This is bad news for OMS as it means more downward pressure on the market if they don’t have everything sold once these towers near completion.

  12. Re: comments About the neighborhood in which these buildings are being built.
    I lived in this neighborhood for 12 years. It’s a wonderful neighborhood. Gritty, urban – all the things that we like about New York when we think about New York. That being said what most people forget about the people that live in these buildings, is that they don’t live in the neighborhood. That’s the whole point of buildings like these. They’re like ocean liners. The people arrive there in their Uber‘s or even in their limos, they go upstairs and they live upstairs. When it’s time for work they come down get in their cars and go. Their communities are all virtual not local.

  13. In defense of those crying foul over “too tall” or “overwhelming” the neighborhood… I do believe the design of OMS could have done a better job stepping back from the Manhattan Bridge to give it more breathing room. OMS shear wall is a bit lazy from a smart design standpoint.

  14. I have no objection in principle to these buildings. Regrettably, I do think the design and site plan could have been so much more. Considering the prominence these buildings will have on the Skyline for years/decades to come, it would be nice to see an application that took contextual clues from its proximately to major and prominent 19th and early 20th structures (the bridges) which themselves are essential parts of the existing skyline. The building designs obliterate the architectural perspective of the bridges and simply adds a series of glass monthlies. Said glass monoliths will be awkwardly sited in relation to the things around it particularly the bridges which will leave people with that “big, bad developer” feeling. So unnecessary considering the amount of money that will get thrown around for a project like this.. A shame as New York and can and should expect more. The height and density are acceptable.

  15. I don’t mean to imply that “anything goes” or anything should be allowed in terms of urban planning & development, but perhaps at THIS very unique & crucial time,in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic disaster, THIS is the time we need to do all we can to revive this great city by attracting more residents, more spending, more business, more construction, and a larger tax base, and to concentrate on those aspects and those efforts for now — instead of rolling out more roadblocks to recovery. Affordable housing and congestion-fueled infrastucture needs are pressing issues indeed, issues that ALSO greatly impact the survival & livability of this still-great city. But they are challenges of such a magnitude & scope that they will require federal remedies, remedies that are a payback for all the years that NYS gave far more than its fair share to the Feds. We need to place a greater emphasis on the word “for” in government “of the people, by the people and for the people”, rather then trying to drown government in a bathtub ….and then anquishig and wondering where it is, or why it failed, when the next need -whether social or economic or natural or healthwise- inevitably comes along; And that includes the long-term disasters of homelessness, gross ineqality and gringing poverty. Just as parts of this city cannot and do not exist in a vacuum, neither can parts of this country. We will all sink or swim together, as a pandemic so clearly illutrates -if we can only learn from that lesson. Ronald Reagam, that Republican false god of trickle-down smoke and mirrors, once said “the most terrifying words in the English language are: I am from the govenment,and I am here to help”. How wrong he was, and how wrong are the current Repulican who refuse to govern for the sake of and for the good of the people as a whole. Good,effective and valued overnment IS the people, not the enemy OF the people, most especially at this crucial time when we need that government assistance ^ coopeation & support for NYC in order to restore, revive and renew –in conjunction with encouraging & by fostering (rather than hindering) private efforts, development & investment.

  16. I think the addition of additional towers in the area will mitigate One Manhattan Square’s isolation. This part of Manhattan can use some big investment to propel it into the next generation.

  17. We used to call this area L.E.S as in (Lower East Side) YEARS ago. A few rappers even gave the neighborhood a “shout out” in their songs. You used to be able to buy weed by the pound there, back in the days, and you had to know someone or you could wind up getting robbed. Now weed is legal and the neighborhood is illed with out of towner transplants, hipsters, and 1%ers. My how times have changed!

  18. EVERYONE is a NiMBY when it finally lands in their backyard,

    And please stop calling them YIMBYs. The more accurate term is YIYBY. Yes, In YOUR Back Yard. I have yet to see a so-called YIMBY ask the city or developer to build a super tall building in their own neighborhood

    • Shane C Keena | April 3, 2021 at 2:40 pm | Reply

      Mostly agreed, but at least the people you are talking about find a reason to support projects instead of defaulting to opposition.

  19. Shane C Keena | April 5, 2021 at 12:02 am | Reply

    All of the traditional neighborhoods that existed before will continue to be there in 10 years, that approachable startup vibe is really trendy right now. Less High Line, more Seward Park for the time being. In any case, it feels like with Phase 2 of Hudson Yards, this crop of towers, and Solow’s Coned site, not to mention future High Line projects themselves once the city fully recovers, the Empire State Building will have much less of an impact on the skyline. Maybe rebuild the original core of the MetLife North building and tack on the additional 70 or so floors that were originally planned in the Art-Deco style? Having a 1,500 ft. or so building by roof height and an additional 200 ft. crown and a 300 ft. spire could help push NYC over the 2K-foot edge without having an “allergic reaction” to that kind of height.

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