If there's one thing that has come to symbolize New York City's tech renaissance over the past decade, it might just be the F train. Connecting burgeoning tech communities throughout the city including Roosevelt Island (future home of Cornell Tech's Applied Sciences campus), Dumbo, and downtown Brooklyn, the "Silicon Subway" has become a common thoroughfare for tech and science types—many of whom have also chosen to settle down in the adjacent neighborhoods.
One of the communities hoping to capitalize on the Silicon Subway's newfound fame and fortune is the Seward Park area on Manhattan's Lower East Side, which will be the recipient of a $1.1 billion investment by developer Delancey Street Associates aimed at revitalizing the largest stretch of undeveloped, city-owned land in Manhattan below 96th Street.
Named Essex Crossing, the 6-acre mixed use development designed by SHoP Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle will include 1.65 million square feet of affordable and market-rate housing, commercial and "micro-retail" areas, and co-working and incubation spaces geared to attract a new generation of tech entrepreneurs.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity to take what was one of the most underutilized areas of Manhattan and transform it into a diverse, exciting, mixed-use community for all New Yorkers," said the principals of Delancey Street Associates.
The project also includes a raft of community spaces intended to help reinvigorate the neighborhood. New entertainment amenities will include an Andy Warhol museum, a bowling alley, and a movie theatre. Also on tap are a dual-generation school, a community center run by Grand Street Alliance, and a rooftop urban farm. The existing Essex Street Market will relocate and double in size to approximately 30,000 square feet, and add a mezzanine of roughly 7,000 square feet.
The project will be a bit of a slow mover, with crews expected to break ground in the spring of 2015, and the first five buildings open by the summer of 2018. The entire project is slated for completion by 2024.