The Changing Face of the Lower East Side

The Lower East Side waterfront will experience a dramatic makeover in the coming decade.

The Lower East Side is an interesting clash of old and new. In a study published by the NYU Furman Center, Lower East Side ranked third behind Williamsburg and Central Harlem in a list of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. The Lower East Side/Chinatown has seen the median rent increased by 50.3% in the past two decades. A huge part of this process of the neighborhood’s revitalization has been the swathes of new construction or conversion luxury condos that have risen over the past few years – and it looks like several more vast construction projects will permanently transform the Lower East Side in the coming decade.

Several large-scale waterfront projects have been announced in the Two Bridges area of the Lower East Side, over the last few months. These include Extell’s One Manhattan Square, JDS’s planned 77-story building currently under construction, and two 50-story buildings planned by L+M Development Partners and the CIM Group. Set for completion in 2019, One Manhattan Square will be 80-stories tall, according to the Bowery Boogie. The structure underwork on 252 South Street will house 815 apartment units. Extell is the developer behind One57, the ninth tallest residential building in the world, and the second tallest in America after 432 Park Avenue.

In April, plans for another skyscraper were revealed – one that could potentially eclipse One Manhattan Square in grandeur. A street down from where the Extell building will be erected, JDS Development is planning to create a 77-story, 900-foot tall structure that will harbor around 600 apartments. Like Extell, JDS is behind some very high-profile projects like 111 West 57th Street and Brooklyn’s first supertall—planned to be a staggering 1000 ft.. However, construction has not started on the site, and will likely not begin for another few years.

The Lower East Side waterfront’s pending makeover could be taken further as rumors emerged last month that L+M Development Partners and CIM Group are planning to construct two 50-story tall towers on the 265-275 South Street sites. Part of the waterfront’s makeover is the almost sluggish work that is going on Pier 35. The NYCEDC claims that the pier will be “redeveloped into a destination pier with landscaped open space and an innovative ecohabitat restoration project called the EcoPark” by 2017. If the project achieves completion around the same timeline as the supertalls do, the Lower East Side might not look anything like it does right now, particularly the waterfront.