The lengthy legal battle to prevent the construction of four massive towers in Two Bridges has come to an end.
The New York Court of Appeals declined to hear cases from two community groups to stop new development projects planned for the Lower Manhattan neighborhood.
The rejection comes a few months after the Appellate Division overturned two decisions by a Supreme Court judge. The Appellate Division’s decision was unanimous, which meant the groups had to get approval from the state’s highest court to get their case heard. Very few such requests are granted.
Community groups had claimed that developers’ proposed modification to the Two Bridges large-scale development plan — a framework approved in 1972 — required further examination by the city and needed City Council approval. The de Blasio administration disagreed and stood behind the agency staffers who signed off on the project.
The projects — JDS Development’s 247 Cherry Street, L+M Development and CIM Group’s 260 South Street and Starrett Corporation’s 259 Clinton Street — would have 2,775 rental units across four towers at three addresses. A quarter of those units would be set aside as affordable.
The developers also plan to upgrade a local subway station and finance repairs at a nearby public housing complex.
A spokesperson for the developers said, “We appreciate the court’s review and look forward to delivering on those benefits.”
The community groups who brought the lawsuits claim they will keep fighting even though the court’s decision essentially ended any chance of stopping the projects in a courtroom.
“There’s not a single shovel in the ground,” the Lower East Side Organized Neighbors said in a statement. “It’s important for residents and supporters of our No Towers, No Compromise campaign to know that this is still not a done deal, and our fight against displacement is far from over.”
Trever Holland of Tenants United Fighting for the Lower East Side said, “Although we are incredibly disappointed by the court’s rejection of our request that they review the Appellate Division decision, we will continue to pursue all options to stop these towers.”
The developments were halted in June 2019 when Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron agreed with the New York City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer that the projects must go through the city’s land use review process. In February 2020, Engoron also ruled in favor of community groups in two other lawsuits challenging the projects.
But the Appellate Division reversed Engoron’s first decision in August 2020 and his other two in February.