T.G. Nickel & Associates
T.G. Nickel nears completion on tower in the historic Essex Crossing project.
By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing
New York City’s Lower East Side is emerging out of a cocoon. What once was a desolate site with a few parking lots and a chain-link fence is blossoming into a mega mixed-use development that promises revival and transformation.
Welcome to Essex Crossing. The $1.5 billion planned mixed-use development in the heart of Manhattan’s Lower East Side will be a place to live, work and play. Spanning nine city blocks, it’s a collection of more than 1,079 new residences, 450,000 square feet of retail space, more than 350,000 square feet of office space and roughly 70,000 square feet of space dedicated to community-focused and cultural facilities. That’s in addition to about 50,000 square feet of green space.
“We’re shaping the skyline of the Lower East Side,” says Mohamed Abbas, project engineer at T.G. Nickel & Associates. “It’s a prominent project in the neighborhood and so many people have invested their energy and time in making it a reality.”
New York-based T.G. Nickel & Associates is developing two sites of the nine-site project that will occupy a total of nearly 2 million square feet of space. T.G. Nickel, a construction management and general contracting firm, was awarded contracts to develop Site 2 and Site 4 of the six-acre development at the intersection of Delancey Street and Essex Street just north of Seward Park.
Essex Crossing sites will be connected by a new park, bike paths and green space above ground and by a world-class marketplace below ground called The Market Line.
Essex Crossing Site 2, which consists of a 27-story building designated for apartment rentals and retail space, is nearing completion. T.G. Nickel was awarded a $190 million contract by developer Delancey Street Associates (consisting of L&M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic and Prusik Group) to build a tower to house a new movie theater, rooftop farm, 195 rental apartments (98 of which are designated as affordable housing) and part of an underground street market.
“Simply put, this is a milestone for Nickel,” stated Douglas Renna, executive vice president at T.G. Nickel, in a prepared statement shortly before the project broke ground in 2015. “We’re honored to contribute to one of the most significant urban renewal projects in New York City history.”
The 65,000-square-foot multiplex movie theater, operated by Regal Cinemas, features 14 screens and comes with amenities such as digital cinema projectors and recliners with padded footrests. The theater’s entrance consists of two-tone metal panels to reflect sunlight.
One of the new building’s unique occupants will be The Market Line, a 150,000-square-foot underground bazaar that will run beneath three buildings (Site 2, Site 3 and Site 4) on Broome Street.
It will be Essex Crossing’s signature public amenity, with a 700-foot-long concourse for vendors selling food, fashion and other products. It features a glass-enclosed mezzanine. “It’s a monumental market that will span three city blocks and will be connected via an underground passageway,” Abbas says.
The Market Line is being integrated with the existing Essex Street Market, an indoor retail market that was one of a number of such facilities built in the 1930s to reduce pushcart congestion on the narrow streets of the Lower East Side. “We’re really collaborating with the existing neighborhood and building off of its strengths, instead of trying to create a new one,” Abbas adds.
When complete, The Market Line will be the largest market in New York City and one of the largest in the world. According to its website, it “will be one of the world’s greatest markets boasting 60-foot ceilings that welcome natural light to an underground landscape. In addition to awe inspiring architecture, this marketplace will feature a food hall and a variety of large and small businesses. It will be anchored by the historic Essex Street Market in its new home.”
Scheduled to opening in early 2019, The Market Line is an expansive, bazaar-like marketplace running three city blocks along Broome Street as part of the Essex Crossing project. Its website states that the market will bring together an eclectic mix of more than 100 locally-sourced food vendors along with those selling art, music, and fashion. All vendors are to reflect the character and culture of the Lower East Side.
T.G. Nickel broke ground in June last year on its second mixed-use building within Essex Crossing. Being built on Site 4, the 417,000-square-foot building will house 263 apartment units.
Targeted for completing in summer of 2020, the 25-story building will also house a podium with five floors of commercial and retail space and its underbelly will be a part of The Market Line.
Similar to the Site 2 building, 121 of the apartments in the Site 4 tower will be designed affordable housing units. “It’s a beneficial project for the neighborhood, which has a tremendous demand for affordable housing,” Abbas adds.
Site 4 is a part of phase two of the entire Essex Crossing project. The third and last phase of the project is targeted for completion in 2024.
In keeping with the neighborhood’s rich history, Essex Crossing is designed to be a diverse mix of large and small retailers, apartment renters, homeowners and entrepreneurs.
New Yorkers expect that the project will enhance the culture and unique flavor of the Lower East Side. The 1.9 million-square-foot development will also be the new home of the International Center of Photography, the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture.
The entire Essex Crossing development is part of an existing area known as the Seward Park Extension Urban Renewal Area (SPEURA). Most of the area was occupied by vacant parking lots that replaced tenements razed in 1967.
Celebrating 20 Years
T.G. Nickel, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year, has evolved into a major player in the Big Apple. Focusing on construction management and general contracting, it operates in a variety of markets that include academic, corporate interiors, healthcare, landmark restoration and residential.
The company got its start in 1998 in Long Island when Thomas Nickel formed a company that would later become T.G. Nickel & Associates.
His company quickly gained distinction for its technical expertise and collaborative team building approach. The company’s website describes it as “partnering with our clients to provide the right information at the right time to make informed decisions.”
Operations soon expanded into the Big Apple, where it started developing creative solutions for unique and challenging projects. Over time, T.G. Nickel grew to a staff of almost 200 professionals and has earned a reputation as a preeminent construction manager with the leadership, resources and flexibility to work on projects both large and small.
In 2013, T.G. Nickel created a strategic partnership with Consigli Construction, a fourth-generation, family-owned company that employs more than 700 professionals and has an annual volume of $1 billion — providing T.G. Nickel with added technical and financial resources.