Supertall Two Bridges Towers Awarded Major Victory Over NIMBYs in New York Appellate Court Decision

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.

The New York Appellate Court ruled 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. One Manhattan Square, a similarly-scoped neighbor, was completed in early 2019, and stands alone as the rest of development came to a halt despite approvals from the City Planning Commission in 2016. Yesterday, the ruling found the buildings described in the applications did not conflict with applicable zoning requirements, with all four Judges siding against Manhattan Borough president Gale A. Brewer and the New York City Council, which challenged the approval in 2018, arguing that the new construction required special permits and had to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process.

The case was heard by Associate Justices Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Angela M. Mazzarelli, Ellen Gesmer, and Anil C. Singh.

As stated by Associate Justice Gesmer in the unanimous decision,

We now find that the CPC’s approvals of the applications were [*6]“rationally based in the record and not contrary to law” (Matter of Edgewater Apts., Inc. v New York City Planning Commn., 177 AD3d 576, 576 [1st Dept 2019]), since the provision requiring ULURP where a project requires a special permit (see NY City Charter § 197-c[a][4]) is inapplicable to the proposed buildings, which undisputedly do not require any waivers from any provisions of the Zoning Resolution (see Zoning Resolution § 78-312).

The buildings as proposed include a two-tower development rising 798 feet at 260 South Street co-developed by CIM and L+M, a 730-foot-tall building at 259 Clinton Street by Starrett, and a 1,008-foot-tall rental tower at 247 Cherry Street developed by JDS Development Group. In addition to 690 affordable housing units as part of the 2,700 total residential units, the massive development would also include $15 million in improvements to three area parks, $12.5 million to improvements to a nearby NYCHA complex, and $40 million in improvements to the East Broadway subway station.

The City Planning Commission approved modifications of the plan, which led to this court decision, which will permit the construction of four residential and mixed-use towers, ranging between 63 and 80 stories tall. The site consists of six parcels 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.

With substantial litigation having been ongoing, there have not yet been any status updates on the projects impacted by the decision, however, previous completion targets for the various new towers had been prior to 2025.

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19 Comments on "Supertall Two Bridges Towers Awarded Major Victory Over NIMBYs in New York Appellate Court Decision"

  1. Wow, those are a lot of large towers.
    Huh, I never knew One Manhattan Square was part of a larger project. It does make sense though. Just look at that isolated 258 meter building!

  2. Developers always win.

  3. This court decision makes a lot of sense to me. Frivolous lawsuits shouldn’t be used to hold up development of as-of-right buildings, and the zoning laws shouldn’t be so complex that you need years of litigation to figure out if a building complies or not. In any case, these buildings make a lot of sense from an urban planning perspective because this is an excellent area to increase residential density and update the current streetscape. There’s no excuse for large surface parking lots in such a high value part of Manhattan. I hope that construction moves ahead quickly.

  4. The developers should be awarded additional square footage to build larger towers to recoup the costs of years of pointless litigation. These towers were always in compliance with zoning and the developers lost millions from lawsuits brought on by bad faith actors from the city government.

  5. The developers should be awarded additional square footage to build larger towers to recoup the costs of years of pointless litigation. These towers were always in compliance with zoning and the developers lost millions from lawsuits brought on by bad faith actors from the city government.

  6. It’s so fun now that they won in this market they won’t.

    Talk about a crashing luxury market.

  7. Horrible ruling that the Court of Appeals should reverse. The buildings are completely inappropriate for the area, and to allow them would completely undermine the purpose of having zoning. Which I suppose is the end goal of developers to begin with. New York is bought and paid for by greedy developers.

    • It’s endlessly amazing how many Luddites come to this site to moan about how tall buildings are not appropriate for Manhattan.

  8. Michael Bernstein | August 28, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Reply

    The completed building practically annihilates the bridge. Ayn Rand would be proud of the willful oblivious individualism.

  9. Phucc Developers | August 28, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Reply

    Perhaps the developers of this abomination, will all succumb to the same disease that prompted this monstrous idea.
    DISGUSTING!

  10. These horrible towers are an abomination – they are hideously ugly and out of place in this location, it is a disgusting symbol of greed and excess. The one that stands, One Manhattan Square, is 80% unoccupied and offering incentives galore to get people to move in. It horribly dwarfs the majestic and artful Manhattan Bridge with its glaring, obtrusive facade. I hope these developers go bankrupt. They are unethical to work around zoning to begin with. PLUS – I heard the community board members accepted kickbacks in the form of apartments in the “poor building’ (which already is shameful that the subsidized housing is ghettoized in a lesser, adjacent building)and they should be punished. Corruption all around!

  11. Let the developers build these super skyscrapers all they want, but let the Extell tower be an example of building in a low income neighborhood. Having built this tower, the Extell tower has failed in selling maximum occupancy, went from selling apartments to renting, amenities fees were dropped for 10 years and they took out a loan for the building. The housing market has dropped and they will continue to lose money in the Lower East Side.

  12. Better call the illegal alien workers hall for all these nonunion jobs

  13. Marc,I can see that you are enemy of progress and you want things to stay the same. It’s not going to happen. The more development a city get, the better for the economy. The litigation is just about poor people whining all the time and want to block anything that will help the neighborhood. Get over it because it will be more to come whether you or the rest of them like it or not.

  14. Michael D. Skelly | September 7, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Reply

    Its all about the Money, they may sell the units or they may not, if they cant sell they warehouse them and take a tax write off,any way you look at it, its the city that will pay…….

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