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Lower East Side Development

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The Lower East Side will see a new development taking the place of a fire damaged synagogue. The developer on the project will be Gotham Organization, in partnership with the Chinese American Planning Council. Gotham has developed many projects in New York City, including residential and commercial buildings, as well as food halls and retail centers. This current development will be a mixed-use building, and will bring around 500 new apartments into the neighborhood. This project is earmarked to include affordable and below market rate housing. “The project, which is bounded by Broome, Suffolk, Grand, and Norfolk streets, will offer 373 units at the 30-story Suffolk Street building with 25 percent set aside at 60 percent of the area median income. Meanwhile, the Norfolk Street property is planned as a 16-story Affordable Independent Residences for Seniors with 115 units.”[1] The building will include residential, commercial, retail, and community space. The Norfolk Street property will pay homage to the burned down synagogue by providing “an independent condominium for seniors run by Beth Hamedrash Hagodol. This is also where the religious group will house its Jewish cultural center equipped with a library, facilities for graduate and post-graduate students studying Jewish heritage, and a synagogue used for regular services.”[2] Initially after the fire, the leadership of the synagogue was trying to restore the building, however the high costs did not make that possible. It seems that the next best thing was to come to a compromise, and allow the developer to include apartments and retail space to make up for the cost. It is not the first time that a religious building, that rand out of funding, to sell part of its land for residential use. This might become a trend in the city, as real estate prices and cost of living continue to rise. 

These development plans are all tentative, as the project needs to get past a lengthy process of approvals with zoning and community reviews. The project is currently aiming to have a 30-story tower, which could be problematic since the areas zoning laws restrict buildings to a 28-story maximum. The proposal also needs to get past a community approval process because the development could reshape the neighborhood. Locals are able to submit comments and concerns by March 8th on the project’s scope, which will then go through a Community Board review.

The development project is anticipating the approval process to be done by the end of 2019, and construction to commence immediately and be done by 2023.


[1] Splvack, C. (March 2019), This 30-story development will replace fire-ravaged Lower East Side synagogue. Retrieved from Curbed NY https://ny.curbed.com/2019/3/4/18250085/lower-east-side-60norfolk-street-design-gotham-organization Accessed on March 6, 2019

[2] Ib.

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