The Dinosaurs of Tribeca: Unfinished buildings and abandoned lots

The plans for the new tower at Independence Plaza have me thinking about all the unfinished towers and boarded up lots we have in the neighborhood — and by unfinished, I really mean abandoned. (The National Park Service defines a dinosaur as extinct animal with upright limbs, so I am going with it.) Some seem to have gone on forever, but still seem to be making progress (14 White, 24 Murray). But a few are either being left to decay like skeletons in the sky or are now vacant, boarded up lots where buildings and storefronts — perfectly viable ones — once stood.

Please chime in and tell me what I missed.

I’ve been fixated on this rotting hulk — and I know I am not the only one. D. wrote recently so I checked in with the DOB; the last time I wrote to them was 2022. The crane gets periodic inspections from DOB — the last one was 2/28/2024. The site passed. A DOB spokesman said that the site was secured and we did not observe any hazardous conditions.

As for the site in general, the new building construction permit is currently expired, and there is a Stop Work Order on the site after the contractor notified DOB in 2019 that they have withdrawn from the site. From DOB: To move forward with the construction project, the property owners must hire a new general contractor, renew the expired permit, and request a DOB inspection of the property to lift the Stop Work Order.(For more information about future plans at the site, I would have to ask the owners, but we know that will go nowhere.)

In New York City, the owners of a stalled work site have a legal responsibility to properly maintain the property. While work is paused, the site is subject to requirements found in DOB Codes, including hiring contractors to perform maintenance work. So there is actually work going on at the site — that’s why neighbors have seen the elevator moving — just not progress on the construction project.

The site owners here torn down an entire block front — including the Racoon Lodge and Mariachi’s — in 2016 or so, only to abandon it three years later. It is now for sale.

This *other* abandoned work site (and stay tuned — there’s more) at 65 Franklin on Broadway has already taken down two fine buildings in its wake. And neighbors across the street to the north on Franklin say their building is now sustaining damage as well: the construction fence comes out so far into the street (the sidewalk is gone) that trucks routinely have to ride up on the northside curb to get by. The hollow sidewalk there can’t take it. There is also an L-shaped project that is supposed to absorb 59 Franklin and 358 Broadway, which were both leveled last fall.

The former McDonald’s at the corner of Thomas and Broadway has not seen any action, even though United American Land’s plans were approved by Landmarks in December 2020. This corner site would be combined with the landmarked 315 Broadway for one site with a 20-story tower. In the meantime, the building is a downer: a target for all sorts of graffiti and illegal postering.

The four-story addition to the sweet historic building on Duane Park has been under construction since at least 2015 — if not longer. The last I talked to someone associated with the owner, they said construction was about to start and would be done in six months. That was last July.

Thanks to the repair of an underground parking garage, the federal General Services Administration closed the sidewalk down the east side of Broadway from Worth to Duane for four years. And all they did is replace a concrete plaza. HOWEVER the sidewalk has reopened. HOWEVER there’s still barricades on the plaza and on Broadway.

The sweet little building on the corner of Thomas and Hudson has been under construction since 2021, for the addition of two stories designed by the late Tribecan Thierry Despont. The building — being rebranded at One Duane Park — is for sale. It’s cool. Someone buy it and finish it up!

21 Park Place, which once held Tent & Trails, collapsed in December 2018, and the site has been idle since. The collapse also shuttered two businesses on Murray Street and seems to have damaged sales at the small condo tower next door. There were once plans filed for a hotel there, but nothing seems to have come of that…



  1. I am here in this area almost weekly and as such familiar with all these as having past all at some point over the years
    Sad to see such blight and no movement.

    • What about the building across from 19 Murray that is wrapped in tattered tarps? It is the north side of the Tent and Trails collapsed building.

  2. Why not throw in the scaffolding at PS 234 that has transformed a once beautiful public school building Into something resembling a dark cave. This complaint is not without precedence by the way: four years ago, four!, I went into the school, asking for some kind of explanation for the scaffolding that had already been up for three years, three! And no one could give me a satisfactory answer. Until that time, there was literally never anyone up there doing any kind of work on the façade. Now the scaffolding has grown to encompass the entire site and it still looks like no one is up there most of the time. This is particularly galling as my son went to that school many years ago, and it was considered one of the most beautiful in the city. Now is just an eyesore and to the staff and the students it must feel like they’re on the dark side of the moon even on the sunniest days.

  3. Any info on 17 Leonard, another eyesore of a stalled project!

  4. I think we just had an earthquake . . .

  5. Every time I walk by 65 West Broadway, I mourn the loss of Mangez Avec Moi.

  6. I live at Independence Plaza on the 36th floor and we most definitely had an earthquake today everybody knows about it at this point, I was in my bed watching a video of the breaking up of the Titanic on my phone when all of a sudden the bed started moving back and forth and my 7 foot Cactus’ was swaying as well and I said what the hell and then I realized what happened seconds later and this is the place where they want to put a 90 floor Tower…

    • Since every building in NYC over 90 stories tall toppled over in the earthquake we must stop the new building in Independence Plaza. ESPECIALLY since it might block Bruce’s 36th floor views.

      If that isn’t reason enough, I am led to believe that pretty much every resident of Independence Plaza suffers from 9/11 PTSD which is triggered regardless of whether nearby buildings are going up or down.

      Now is the time to STOP much-needed NYC housing and jobs!!!

      (/s, obviously)

    • Bruce i agree 100000 percent. No building should be on the 310 Greenwich Street site. Between the winds, the earthquake that just happened. More and more its very unsafe for people to be living there while this monstrosity goes up. It must be stopped.

  7. Thank you so much for bringing attention to these “ buildings” and sites. I also am really upset – especially about the one on Park Place. Because of the unfinished construction one is required to either cross the street mid- block or walk in the middle of the road. The sidewalk is closed. There is no pedestrian pathway. The busy UPS store is just next door – and it makes all my ventures there rather precarious. I have complained to Marte’s office. I’ve never heard back. The building in question is called Tribeca House. Is this not also a DOT concern?

    Yes. There was an earthquake. 4.8

  8. Maddening, but an excellent, relevant survey. Thank you!

  9. Another for the list — 21 Park Place that collapsed and is now abandoned between Park Place and Murray.

  10. It is upsetting that United American Land has so many properties downtown. I have reached out to them many times over the years regarding their sites and they can care less about this neighborhood. Trash, scaffolding, human feces (yes, feces) they refused to clean off their building that was near completion. Was there for months and they could not have been ruder about it. Family owned company I wish they would sell it all and move elsewhere. The city allows the bare minimum and they take full advantage of that.

  11. Apart from providing a market for many expensive Department vehicles which are then parked in prohibited spaces all over Tribeca, does the Dept of Buildings actually serve any purpose, whatsoever? How is it that all these sites, well-documented in the report can just be allowed to remain fallow ad infinitum. Perhaps any site which has been stalled for x months should automatically be put up for auction and sold with the contractual proviso that either the site is cleared up or completed within a set period of time. Oh gosh, sorry, the Real Estate industry wouldn’t like that.

  12. Among the first world cities, New York ranks number one in filth, lawlessness and rudeness, you don’t realize until visiting other countries. Some New Yorkers like to say this is the greatest city in the world, ( sometimes I suspect they say so to protect their real estate value) they need a reality check. Tribeca is the poster child of greed and wealth gap, culture desert and turning into a urban strip mall. Nothing nice or interesting here any more.

  13. How about the garage on N Moore. Does that count?

    • The one that was supposed to be a conversion? I wouldn’t call it a relic yet… but I do think it is for sale.

  14. 45 Park Place is my standout example in this sad collection. It can’t be cheap to rent a crane for years on end, and I’m sure that high winds (and now an earthquake) make it an unwelcome neighbor.

    But it’s 65 West Broadway that really grabs my attention. Whenever I stop by The Mysterious Bookshop, I marvel at the bracing holding up the eight story building across the street, and hope that I don’t see it featured on the evening news.

    • Blame the NY City legal system for 45 Park Place. The property has been mired in bankruptcy proceeds for almost three years. Should have been resolved years ago.