After sitting mostly vacant for a mind-boggling 50 years, a 6-acre urban renewal area on the Lower East Side has finally come back to life. No fewer than three separate developers, BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners, have temporarily joined forces as Delancey Street Associates to complete this mega-project, named Essex Crossing and composed of nine sites slated to offer rental and condominium apartment buildings, a medical center, a movie theater, and more. Since food halls have been all the rage, “more” will include the Market Line. The developers are aiming for something like Pike Place Market in Seattle—only in subterranean form running beneath three buildings, among them a collaboration between Handel Architects and SHoP Architects. A “light scoop” carved into the structures will bathe the bazaar’s butchers and cheese mongers as well as fashion boutiques and art galleries in sunshine. Rest assured, though: Market Line will not be a cookie-cutter “mall,” which New Yorkers tend to loathe. No national chains allowed.
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