Thursday, January 10, 2013
City seeks to develop huge Lower East Side space
The city officially launched its search Wednesday for a developer to transform more than six acres of underutilized land on the Lower East Side into a vibrant, mixed-use development. The massive Seward Park development is five decades in the making and is the largest redevelopment of fallow, city-owned land south of 96th Street in Manhattan.
A request for proposals to build on nine city-owned sites, located near the intersection of Delancey and Essex streets at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, was issued by the city Economic Development Corp. and city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The city is looking for a developer to build a 1.65-million-square-foot development that will include 1,000 apartments—half of which will be permanently affordable—plus commercial space and public space. There is also space reserved for a possible new school. Proposals are due May 6.
"Today marks another historic milestone for the Lower East Side generally and Seward Park in particular," said Seth Pinsky, president of the city Economic Development Corp., in a statement. "The release of this RFP is the culmination of an unprecedented community planning process, and we look forward to receiving a robust set of proposals that will ultimately reintegrate these sites back into this vital community."
The redevelopment of the sites, now parking lots, has been controversial for years. The sites known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area were home to tenements that were demolished by the city in the late 1960s. There were several different plans to build on the site that were not well-received by the community and city officials prior to the latest plan, which was unanimously approved by the City Council in October. In the past, the community and city could not agree on how much affordable housing should be included in the project.