Judge Stops Two Bridges Development Temporarily The Controversial Residential Project Needs to Undergo Land Review Process

Judge Stops Two Bridges Development Temporarily
Lower Manhattan cityscape (iStock)

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.

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  • In the wake of more rent regulations, sorely needed housing units, developers of Two Bridges are to be apllauded to have the courage to take the risk, to have the funding, and the patience to carry forward such a plan - create almost 3,000 new apartments, including some affordable units. Wow ! It will be history-making with a sigh of relief, if ever NYC should have a surplus of housing units! Rents will level off. Manhattan is an island. HongKong and Singapore are islands. These are islands attracting new comers + existing residents with growing families. Population growth can not be stopped. There is but one way to grow – up ! Singapore has high rise “vertical farms” + high rise housing. Come on Folks, we cannot keep looking backwards to live in 19th Century set ups. Let’s have roof top helicopter landing for affluent New Yorkers who travel by air; drone delivery pad; sky lounge with 21st Century design, glass-enclosed health club and pool, - let’s give them Hudson Yard in the sky ! If there should be 3000 new apartments – 20/80 formula will bring 600 affordable units. One can envision Affordable units incorporating community Center, Child Care Center and such – vibrant and alive.- on the ground level. If NYC should come to a housing surplus, Two bridges should be celebrated for its courage in risk taking to over build.