On the corner of Broome and Allen streets on the Lower East Side, a small development site has sat fallow for several years. Now, new applications have been filed for altered architectural plans that will hopefully give rise to a new building, which is being developed by 88 Allen Realty LLC (with Paul Leung listed as the general manager).
The hotel will measure just over 13,000 square feet, and will have 41 rooms, with AMA Architect PC listed as the architect of record.
Drawings portray a fairly plain modern structure, which looks about as benign as most other new developments rising on the outskirts of Chinatown. Outside of the historically-minded works by architects like Issac & Stern (and with the possible exception of Herzog & de Meuron’s ultra-contemporary plans for 215 Chrystie Street), forward-thinking architecture in the vicinity is usually shackled by over-restrictive zoning.
The end result is filler like 88 Allen Street, which doesn’t really subtract from the neighborhood fabric, but isn’t exactly an overwhelmingly positive contribution. Additional density in neighborhoods as accessible as the Lower East Side and Chinatown should be allowed, especially as populations decline. 88 Allen’s census tract saw an 8.7% drop in population between 2000 and 2010 alone, decreasing from 52,375 people to 47,844.
While maintaining important historic structures is a must, not all of the building stock in Chinatown or the Lower East Side is worthy of preservation. Taking advantage of existing infrastructure is a must when planning for housing affordability, especially with the continued decline in the average size of households.
As for 88 Allen, the new filings are hopefully a sign that construction will begin to get going soon, though no completion date has been announced.
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