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This is the first in our three-part series, "The Neighbors Who Arrived First". CityRealty will zoom in on three major New York City streets on the cusp of dramatic change spurred by new development.
The construction of Extell’s high-rise condo development at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge is now well underway. When complete, 250 South Street (formerly 227 Cherry Street) will rise more than 80 stories above the East River and be home to just under 800 units, but that’s not all. As if the great views of the East River and entire city were not enough to attract future residents, the developer of One Manhattan Square has also promised to throw in a bucket list of amenities, including a basketball court, fitness center, spa, pool and theater, and even a bowling alley and demonstration kitchen. There will also be over 45,000 square feet of outdoor space for the development’s soon-to-arrive residents to enjoy.
As the Extell building goes up, the surrounding area is also attracting growing attention from other developers. In July, JDS announced plans for a rental development just next door at 247 South Street. In this case, 25 percent of the units will be classified as affordable housing, though how whether they will be more mid- or low-income units is not yet clear. Given the scope of the Extell development and its neighboring rental development on South Street, thousands of new residents are expected to arrive in the Cherry Street neighborhood between now and 2020. Of course, there are many neighbors who arrived first.
According to available city data, the local zip code—10002—is currently home to over 82,000 city residents. With over 93,000 people per square mile, the neighborhood is also among the city’s more densely populated. City data further reveals that 87 percent of the area’s current local residents are renters, and among them thousands live in two longstanding New York City Housing Authority developments on Cherry Street: Rutgers Houses and La Guardia Houses.
Map view StreetView
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The History of Cherry Street

To date, news of Extell development has largely focused on the many things that will separate current Cherry Street residents from those expected to take up residence at One Manhattan Square, but there is at least one thing both groups will share in common. Both the neighborhood’s existing residents and those who will eventually occupy One Manhattan Square will be living on sites that were once home to other residential and retail buildings.
Residents of One Manhattan Square will be living above what was once a Pathmark—a discount grocery store. Indeed, the closing of the store was one of the reasons why the Extell development was initially criticized by many local residents and housing advocates in the Two Bridges neighborhood.
One local resident, who lives in a mixed income building on South Street, which he described as home to “mostly middle income people who work for the city, including teachers and police officers, but also lower income and formerly homeless residents,” explained that the closing of the Pathmark has been particularly difficult on Cherry Street’s older residents. “There are many older people who live in my building but also in the elderly building next door and the one on Cherry Street. Now, they have to walk a very long way—to Grand Street. This is difficult, but what can we do?” Notably, while the Extell development will bring new retail to the community, the type of retail the development will attract is up in the air.
In the 1930s, many of Cherry Street’s homes and businesses were also destroyed but the scale of the demolition was much broader. At the time, Cherry Street was home to hundreds of mixed-use buildings, including factories, tenements and retailers. When demolition teams started to clear the way for the first NYCHA buildings mid decade, nearly all the neighborhoods homes and businesses were destroyed. Most controversial, however, was the decision to take a wrecking ball to a building of great historical significance.
135 Cherry Street, 1939. MCNY Collections.
John Beekman House, 29-29 1/2 Cherry Street, New York County, NY
The demolition along Cherry Street started in the mid 1930s. In fall 1936, however, demolitions were temporarily halted on some sections of the street when a crew of surveyors from the Historic American Building Survey witnessed a wrecking ball taking down an old Dutch brick building at 29 Cherry Street. The building, dating back to the mid 1700s, was not only the city’s oldest building but had reportedly housed some of George Washington’s officers during the American Revolution. In the end, the historic home, like the Pathmark, was ultimately destroyed to make way for the new development despite opposition.

The 227 Cherry Street to 250 South Street Transition

In New York, there is a long tradition of changing street addresses. Many new developments going up along Second Avenue on the Upper East Side, for example, have opted to use a side street rather than avenue address to avoid being associated with the construction that has plagued Second Avenue for years. So the fact that the former 227 Cherry Street will come to life again as 250 South Street is not unusual, but it has caused some local residents to wonder if the developer is trying to distance itself from the community on a symbolic level. Despite such concerns, not everyone is worried about One Manhattan Place’s arrival.
A manager of a small food and beverage store located on Cherry Street who has lived in the neighborhood for the past 30 years was cautiously optimistic about the potential changes the Extell development will bring to the neighborhood: “It’s a new face for the neighborhood and that’s good. Things change. Also, just because new people arrive, doesn’t mean that the older residents need to leave.”
For other local residents, there is hope the condo will also bring additional improvements. “The MTA ignores us. It’s about 10 minutes to the subway and the bus never comes,” said Kenisha, a young woman who lives in the neighborhood. “When those people in the condo show up, the MTA will have to get its act together, so sure, I’m happy.”
Seward Park

Extell’s Community Response

For its part, Extell has assured local residents that it is committed to ensuring that the impact of the new development will be minimal and that One Manhattan Place will be part of the community. Of course, some impacts extend well beyond any developer’s control.
Several local residents interviewed for this article expressed worries about the potential strain One Manhattan Place and neighboring new developments may have on public resources, including the neighborhood’s already overcrowded local school. As seen in other neighborhoods, however, only time will tell if the residents at One Manhattan Square opt to send their children to the local school, lobby for a new school with different zoning boundaries, or bus their children out to selective public schools or private schools. What’s clear is that by 2020, Cherry Street’s second major transformation in the past century will be in full swing.
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Additional Info About the Building

Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.
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