Industry bigwigs bankroll LES museum expansion

December 16, 2013 08:06AM

Several big developers – including Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners — are helping to fund an $8 million expansion of the Lower East Side’s Tenement Museum. The museum’s expansion into the upper floors at 103 Orchard Street will allow the museum to house additional exhibits chronicling American immigration in the post-World War II period.

Taconic, L+M and BFC are also being feted at the museum’s fundraising gala in April, Morris Vogel, the museum’s president, told the Wall Street Journal.

“The developers are being honored for their sensitivity in planning a project that respects the neighborhood’s past,” Vogel said, referring to their mixed-use megaproject at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The trio was tapped to spearhead the controversial redevelopment project in September.

Real estate executives donated $450,000 of the $700,000 raised at the museum’s fundraiser in June, according to the Journal. Taconic’s co-CEO Charles Bendit, whose grandfather immigrated from Ukraine, told the newspaper that it wasn’t unusual for industry bigwigs to be involved in causes celebrating immigration.

“Think of the Rudins, the LeFraks, the Kalikows,” Bendit said. “Most of the real-estate developers in New York City are the descendants of immigrants, and they’re aware of their roots and inextricably connected to the past.” [WSJ]  – Hiten Samtani