Ten-Story Tower Planned Atop Historic Eisner Bros ‘Eastern Dispensary’ on Essex Street

Posted on: May 5th, 2022 at 5:01 am by

The historic Eastern Dispensary Building on Essex Street – home of the longtime Eisner Bros. on the ground floor – is headed for redevelopment. A new vertical appendage.

Owner of the hallmark, bunker-looking Building at 75 Essex filed plans this week with the Department of Buildings to redevelop the property to include a ten-story addition. Something more befitting the current gold rush climate spurred by Essex Crossing.

The proposed project is to stack another 162 feet atop the building, and yield 27,355 square-feet of floor area. Roughly half that will split between residential and commercial use. Plans show nine apartments, most likely condos based on the average unit size of 1,592 square-feet.

Rise Architecture is on board for design duties.

The road to this point has been long and winding for Eisner and 75 Essex.

Indeed, the should-be landmark first appeared for sale in 2010 for $18 million, then increased by $3 million three years later. It was around that time, while landmarking was on the table, that Eisner allegedly considered condos for the site.

Feb. 2010

Despite urgent pleas of protection from preservation groups and Community Board 3, the Landmarks Preservation Commission ultimately decided to deny an official designation. Immediately thereafter, the property was listed yet again, this time for a whopping $30 million. And up to $39 million later in 2015.

The Eastern Dispensary (also known as the Good Samaritan Dispensary) was established in 1832 and was built to provide the sick and poor with a place to receive aide and medicine.  It opened during a massive cholera epidemic “that claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people, mainly destitute Irish immigrants crammed into filthy hovels in the fourth and sixth slum wards of downtown Manhattan.” The dispensary was at first on Grand Street and moved to 75 Essex the year the building was built – 1890.

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