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Two more 700-foot towers coming to Lower East Side waterfront

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Holy smokes

The two towers will rise in front of Lands End II, the two identical buildings pictured to the right.
Flickr/Joel Raskin

L+M Development Partners and CIM Group have revealed preliminary plans for two 60-plus-story towers along the Two Bridges waterfront on the Lower East Side (h/t The Lo-Down). The 798- and 728-foot skyscrapers will join Extell’s 800-foot One Manhattan Square, JDS Development Group’s 900-foot tower, and Starrett Corp.’s forthcoming development in a traditionally mixed-income area just north of the Brooklyn Bridge that’s experiencing a spate of new high-end residential development.

The towers will rise on the site of a parking lot adjacent to Lands End II, the 490-apartment Section 8 housing development on Cherry Street also owned by L+M, and are anticipated to include 1,350 apartments of which 338 will be permanently affordable. (No, there won’t be a poor door.)

In addition, the developers plan to bring ground-floor retail and public landscaped outdoor space including ADA-compliant play areas and a lawn for lounging and recreation to the project’s surrounds. TLD notes that two design workshops will be held early next year to solicit feedback from the community about the outdoor amenities.

Handel Architects

Handel Architects is still working on finalizing the design for the site, but have revealed technical drawings that give a sense of what’s coming. As of now, the towers are set to rise 69 and 62 stories, but that may change as the plans are finessed. What’s known definitively is that the two towers will be set 60 feet apart at their base and will be joined by a single lobby.

The development team is aware of the rapidly-changing status of the Two Bridges area. “We own the Cherry Street buildings, we own the development site. We want both properties to be successful,” associate director of L+M, Katherine Kelman, told TLD. “We are using the new building as an opportunity to make improvements to the Cherry Street properties, as well, and to improve the quality of life on the block for existing residents and new residents.”

Although a noble effort, there will be some major drawbacks for current residents of Lands End II. Some 100 apartments in the buildings that face out to the East River will lose their views with the new development. The developers downplay the impact by noting that the apartments that will be affected also have exposures to the east and west (because of Manhattan’s orientation, the vantage to the East River here actually points south).

Handel Architects
Handel Architects

The development site and Lands End II will both incorporate resiliency standards; the new project will be elevated above the 100-year floodplain, and the developers are looking at bringing earthen berms, flood walls, and temporary flood protection gates to Lands End II. The 103 surface parking spaces that will be lost to the new development will be replaced with underground parking. The Lands End II community room will be relocated in the new development at 275 Cherry Street.

The entire Two Bridges area will undergo an environmental assessment next year that will address community concerns about new development. L+M and CIM, for their part, say they want to stay engaged with the community throughout the development process. “Recognizing that we own the adjacent buildings is a really important thing because we want to be really good landlords and good management companies that recognize the needs of our existing residents,” Alex Kafenbaum of CIM Group told TLD.

Mathews Nielsen

The developers hope to begin construction in 2018, following the environmental assessment and City Planning approvals process.