Thanks to a court decision last week, plans to build a controversial luxury development on the Lower East Side have hit a snag.
The New York Times reported that a State Supreme Court judge in Manhattan ruled that the project -- known as Two Bridges -- cannot proceed as it is without going through a public review process. Justice Arthur Engoron's decision overruled a city agency's previous 2016 approval for Two Bridges.
The project, which consists of three buildings -- one of them measuring more than 1,000 feet tall -- would create almost 3,000 new apartments, including some affordable units.
Neighborhood groups argued that Two Bridges would displace residents and increase property taxes, the Times reported. Members of the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer filed a lawsuit to impede the project over concerns about the height of the tallest tower, and stipulate that the Council must give its okay to the developers' plans before they can proceed.
In his ruling, Engoron wrote, “The irreparable harm here is twofold. First, a community will be drastically altered without having had its proper say. Second, and arguably more important, allowing this project to proceed without the City Council’s imprimatur would distort the City’s carefully crafted system of checks and balances.”
Brewer said in a statement following the court decision, as quoted in Curbed: “I’m so gratified that Judge Engoron has ruled in our favor, and that the Two Bridges developments—which will have a ‘huge’ impact on the neighborhood—must undergo the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] process,”
The developers behind Two Bridges reportedly plan to appeal the judge's decision. Their spokesperson said: “Needless to say, we disagree with the court’s ruling, as these projects were lawfully approved and met all legal requirements. They were proposed after years of community consultation, public review and environmental analysis, and in compliance with zoning that’s been in place for more than 30 years.”
David Chiu is an associate editor at The Cooperator.