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Essex Crossing’s second phase comes into focus

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By the end of this year, much of the Lower East Side megaproject’s first phase will be complete

An aerial view of many tall city buildings in New York City. Moso Studios

If you haven’t visited the Lower East Side lately, you might be surprised by how much Delancey Street has changed in recent months. Four towers in various states of completion have popped up along the once low-slung thoroughfare, signaling the arrival of the Essex Crossing megaproject.

Though the neighborhood-changing development was first pitched during the Robert Moses era, it’s finally becoming a reality. The first phase of development, which includes hundreds of units of housing (including a solid chunk of affordable apartments) and big commercial tenants (Target just opened an outpost over the summer), is close to being complete.

And the project hit perhaps its biggest milestone: The first residents moved in late last year, bringing human activity to what has been, for the past three years, a big construction site.

“The response has been so positive,” says Isaac Henderson, the project manager for Essex Crossing. He points to the fact that the Rollins, the first market-rate rental, is “fully leased up,” as well as the crowds at the recently-unveiled Target, as proof. “The demand has been tremendous, and people are super-excited.”

As the various puzzle pieces of what developer Delancey Street Associates (a collaboration between L & M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic, and Prusik Group) considers the first phase move into place, the second phase—which includes more housing, retail, and office space—are coming into focus. The latest rendering for the project, seen above, shows Essex Crossing in its totality, with most of the development’s nine buildings are pictured.

There’s also more to come before 2018 is over: In the next few months, another rental—the Essex, located at 125 Delancey Street—will start leasing; more retail options, including Trader Joe’s, will open; a 15,000-square-foot park, designed by West 8 and situated just south of Delancey Street, will bring some much-needed green space to the neighborhood; and the new home of the Essex Street Market, also located within 125 Delancey, will debut.

Henderson sees the new Essex Street Market—which will house nearly every vendor at the current market, along with new purveyors like Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and Samesa—as bridging the gap between the historic Lower East Side and the shiny newness of Essex Crossing. “We’re really collaborating with the existing neighborhood and building off of many of its strengths, rather than trying to create a new neighborhood,” he says. “I think that’s a real advantage.”

The developers aren’t resting on their laurels: The first phase of the Market Line, the brand-new bazaar that will have food, fashion, and art vendors, will stretch across three buildings and debut its first section in early 2019. At 242 Broome Street, closings have already begun, but the International Center of Photography’s new HQ will open in 2019.

There are still several more buildings to bring to market, which will have more apartments—an affordable development for seniors, for example, will rise on the old home of the Essex Street Market—and office space. Those buildings are currently under construction, and will start rolling out at the end of 2019, with all of the office space anticipated to be leased by 2020.