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]) 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.