Lower Manhattan’s Overcrowding Dilemma Continues As Another Luxury Tower Receives Permits

Residents in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District are wondering if they’ll ever know a life with blocked sidewalks, construction and chronic over-crowding.

By Jeff Vasishta January 17, 2017
Credit: D Ramey Logan

Why have five floors when you can have 50? Every low rise building in New York City is, it seems a prime target for a gleaming new tower. NY Yimby has reported that Roe Corporation filed plans last week for a 42-story, mixed-use building at 265 Broadway, across from City Hall Park between Warren and Chambers streets, replacing the five-story property that currents sits there.

Related: Tribeca’s Pier 26 Development Project Is Set To Transform Lower Manhattan

The new 510-foot-tall tower will hold an 80-room hotel on the first 12 floors and 38 spacious condos on the remaining 30 stories. Most of the apartments would be full-floor units or duplexes, and the top three floors would host a triplex penthouse. The luxury tower comes replete with a lounge, lobby, garden and offices on the ground floor and a restaurant and kitchen on the second.

Noted hotel designer/architect Gene Kaufman filed plans for the building. There is currently a flurry of construction activity taking place in the immediate vicinity, with towers sprouting like crabgrass in humid weather. They include the 54-story 23 Park Row, which is replacing the J&R electronics store, the Temple Court Building’s new 51-story neighbor at 5 Beekman Place, and the 67-story, Robert A.M. Stern-designed hotel and condominium building at 30 Park Place.

It’s a dramatic turnaround since the 911 decimated much of the area sixteen years ago. However, the non-stop building has angered some residents tired of living in a congested building site. The NY Times reported that Financial District Neighborhood Association was formed last year to deal with the chronic crowding and quality of life issues faced by residents. Tourists  have arrived in their droves, firstly to Ground Zero and now to One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The multiyear rebuilding included a new subways system and scores of new apartment buildings, restaurants and bars, bringing with it trash and foot traffic. The development of the Financial District is the missing link which began decades ago with the gentrification of Tribeca and the development Battery Park City.

Related: Bidding Wars Decline And Sanity Returns To The Manhattan Condo Market

“Crowding exists in other parts of the city,” said Patrick Kennell, 40, a lawyer who is also a member of the Financial District Neighborhood Association. “But it’s unique here because of the sheer amount of development that has happened post-9/11.”

Couple this with the fact that the downtown area is generally considered cooler by new media type businesses, start-ups and millennials. It means that jobs, commercial space and residences have migrated downtown created a bottleneck of congestion.

However, others may argue that is the price you pay for living in Manhattan, a center for arts, culture and now convenience.  New shopping centers at Westfield World Trade Center and Brookfield Place, along with a new luxury multiplex movie theater with oversize leather chairs, pillows and blankets are big draws. In recent months, two luxury hotels, the Beekman and the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, and the upscale Italian market Eataly NYC Downtown all opened their doors bringing with them the crowds.

Crowds the FIDI Neighborhood Association would argue, are one thing but the maddening din from construction and midnight garbage trucks are quite another. Scaffolds stay up for years on end darkening and blocking sidewalks, making it unaccommodating for families with strollers and small children to navigate. The schools have become crowded and babysitters almost impossible to find. Downtown Manhattan is the greatest advert for families to move to the suburbs. Many are holding on, waiting a time when the building eventually slows down. With the latest batch of towers having just received their permits, residents may be in for a long wait.


Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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