JDS Champions Affordability with its 1,000-Foot Luxury Tower on the LES Waterfront

Posted on: September 27th, 2016 at 4:55 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: JDS DevelopmentIt was standing room only last night in Two Bridges, and not for a screening of the Clinton-Trump debate. Rather a community meeting about the incoming 1,000-foot residential tower at 247 Cherry Street brought to the area by JDS Development and SHoP Architects.

The assembly itself was civil, albeit tense. How could it not be? Residents who have had to contend with years of construction hell are looking down the barrel of several more.

These were shrewd businessmen – Michael Stern (JDS) and Gregg Pasquarelli (SHoP) – who presented a confident argument with a slick, political response to every question and concern. The JDS pitch began with some historical context; they dug into the press archives to note how change along the waterfront has never been popular, from Pathmark to the construction of 82 Rutgers Slip. Then focused on the importance and challenges of affordability at a time when rents are rising and wages stagnating. How this predominantly market rate tower – cantilevering over senior residences – is antidote with its 25% permanently affordable units. (The bullshit meter in the room registered pretty high on that count.)

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: JDS DevelopmentQuick stats of the project:

  • 247 Cherry will stand 1,000 feet, or 77 stories (which is pretty misleading).
  • There will be 639 rental units, 25% of which are permanently affordable. The market rate pays for the inclusion of affordable.
  • Unlike Extell just down the block, there are no “poor door” entrances.
  • 9 seniors would be moved to the tower so laundry rooms can be installed inside 80 Rutgers.
  • Affordable neighborhood retail, with a “local pharmacy” favored at Cherry/Rutgers corner.
  • Resiliency against future storms by adding walls, elevating critical infrastructure, and adding generators at 80 Rutgers.
This image has been archived or removed.

The opposition, flustered by their neighborhood being the latest gold mine, showed up.

  • There was worry about further damage — JDS responded that their construction differs from Extell, and won’t have a foundation, built with concrete core and steel truss (no de-watering process). They have a “comprehensive mitigation plan”…
  • There was concern that bestowing resiliency upgrades to only 80 Rutgers would make its neighbor (82) more vulnerable — JDS is willing to discuss feasibility of improvements to the latter building…
  • There was concern about how “affordability” was calculated, and how it should be pegged at the area income levels…
  • There was concern about the seniors who would be displaced by construction of new laundry rooms. How their entire routine and way of life would be interrupted — JDS is sensitive to the needs of those relocated, but acknowledged that their removal is for the “long term good” of the area…
  • “And what if we don’t want this, what do we do?” asked a speaker — JDS acknowledges that every time change comes, there’s a concern that leads to conversation…

Yet, in the end, was this whole presentation moot? At least one person in attendance seemed to think so. That would be an attorney for Little Cherry (Gary Spindler and Roy Schoenberg), currently embroiled in litigation over the site. They accuse the nonprofits of reneging on a prior agreement for 235 Cherry that includes air rights JDS needs for its construction. “It’s hard to understand why they’re presenting before the community,” he noted, given the ongoing litigation.

JDS wouldn’t comment on anything related to the lawsuit.


Below is the full presentation for your perusal:

The 1,000-Foot Tower at 247 Cherry Street

Recent Stories

‘Caribea’ Grill Readies Space Left Vacant by Domino’s on Allen Street

Ever since Domino’s ditched its decades-old Allen Street location three years ago, the commercial space has been a vacancy consistently peddled on the market. Now, a new concept is a-knockin. Caribea is as it sounds – a fast casual pan-Caribbean grill. The restaurant at 203 Allen will seat fourteen tables and a stand-up bar, for […]

The Projects Jockeying for the $20M Chinatown Revitalization Funds

Several months ago, Governor Hochul announced a $20 million grant in the form of the Downtown Revitalization initiative (DRI).  Some forty sites around Chinatown were identified during the DRI process, which is led by a Local Planning Committee of community representatives and supported by State agency staff and a consultant team. That list was ultimately […]

Displaced Chinatown Business Returns Months After Devastating Fire

Four months after a deadly fire knocked out 78 Mulberry Street, one of its businesses returned to the scene. Ewa Trading Company reopened in its former Chinatown home earlier this week. The store had spent some of the interim displacement period selling from a shuttered Vietnamese restaurant a few paces north. The two-alarm fire broke […]

EDC Sues Essex Restaurant for Back Rent over Former Essex Market Lease

Three years removed from its relocation across Rivington Street, the city filed suit against the Essex restaurant for alleged unpaid rent. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sued Essex for nearly $60,000 in unpaid back rent on the former Essex Market building it previously occupied, according to the lawsuit filed Monday. The city entity claims that […]

Exile on Orchard Street: Tenement Museum Recreates Exhibits During Renovations

The Tenement Museum is amidst a preservation project at 97 Orchard Street, but will continue its programming with replicas not too far away. The 1863-era tenement this past Sunday embarked on “vital” restoration work to preserve its walls, floors, roof, as well as the installation of a new HVAC system that will provide improved climate […]