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The Future of Retail on the Lower East Side, Revealed

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Broome Street. Renderings via <a href="">nycmayorsoffice</a>/Flickr.
Broome Street. Renderings via nycmayorsoffice/Flickr.

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The face of the Lower East Side is about to get a huge makeover. Our sister site writes, "After about a half-century of attempts and failures to remake the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or SPURA, the city has finally made some decisions about the fate of Manhattan's largest swath of undeveloped land south of 96th Street." And those decisions are shiny, tall, and loaded with "micro-retail spaces."

The project, called Essex Crossing, targets the area at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge (on the Manhattan side) that is currently populated by hole-in-the-wall stores and that giant Rainbow outpost. Plans include the requisite retail, restaurant, office space, parks, and apartments, but also boast a movie theatre, an Andy Warhol museum, an urban farm (because duh), and a full-blown school.

Essex Street

The Essex Street Market will see expansions, and the plans tout "a diverse mix of retail space" including the aforementioned micro-retail. Citywide, market concepts—with their ever changing vendor lineups—have emerged as a major retail trend. Consider Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market, Opening Ceremony's new waterfront depot, and even the way department stores like Henri Bendel are hosting week-long "trunk shows" with emerging brands for proof. Perhaps the Hester Street Fair heads indoors for the winter?

Ludlow and Broome

The other major retail trend we're seeing is what are essentially malls. The Shops at Columbus Circle, Brookfield Place, and the South Street Seaport are a few examples of the all-in-one shopping experiences that are emerging throughout Manhattan. Could the Lower East Side host a similar concept?

Essex and Delancey

Keep in mind that this will sit right across the bridge from the wild Domino Sugar Factory project in Brooklyn, ensuring that while walking some out of town relative over the Williamsburg Bridge one day in the future, you'll be the crotchety New Yorker exclaiming, "This used to look so different!"

· The Future of the Lower East Side's SPURA Revealed! [Curbed NY]