Chinatown Towers Plan

The Possible End of Chinatown as We Know It

Three towers are planned for the waterfront of the Two Bridges area of Manhattan. The area just north of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. They include a 660-foot tall building at 247 Cherry Street developed by JDS Development, two 50-story towers at 260 South Street from L+M Partners and CIM Group, and a 724-foot tall building at 275 South Street from Starrett Development.

Due to the Department of City Planning's decision to required the developers to go through the uniform land use review procedure (ULURP) because the development is only a “minor modification” in the eyes of the commission. But in the eyes of the community though, the four towers that are planned will destroy the neighborhood and displace the mostly immigrant families that live in Chinatown.

While the city is in need of affordable apartments, only 25% of the 2700 apartments in these four towers will be designated affordable. But then you ask, affordable for whom? The lowest requirement for income is $35,000. The average income in Chinatown is about $30,000. And as we all know, once those towers are built, or sooner, landlords will try to evict tenants throughout the community. During the hearing, two people from Cherry St. indicated that they were already threatened with eviction.

In a hearing at the City Planning Commission on Wednesday, October 17, 104 people signed up to testify. Except for a few associated with the development, most were passionately against the Towers. Included in the list were Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Woman Margaret Chin, and Assembly Woman, Yuh-Line Niou. All three were against the building of the Towers. Gale Brewer demanded that the Planning Commission change their decision to forego ULURP.

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