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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eric Bederman (HPD) 212-863-5176


NYCEDC and HPD Announce Release of Request for Proposals to Develop 1.65 Million Square Feet of Mixed-Use Real Estate on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Development of Fully Approved Site Will Fill Gap in Urban Fabric That Has Persisted for 45 Years; Creating 1,000 Housing Units, Hundreds of Thousands of Square Feet of New Commercial Space, 1,000 Permanent Jobs and 5,000 Construction Jobs 

New York City, January 9, 2013 – New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) today announced the next major step in transforming the largest parcel of under-developed City-owned land in Manhattan below 96th Street into vibrant, mixed-use space in one of New York’s most dynamic, diverse and historic neighborhoods. With the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) today, nine sites located near the intersection of Essex Street and Delancey Street are on their way to becoming a 1.65-million-square-foot development including 1,000 units of housing with half of the units being permanently affordable. In addition, the RFP calls for new commercial space, a new and expanded Essex Street Market, open space, and the potential for a school and other community space. The development will create approximately 1,000 permanent jobs and 5,000 construction jobs. 

"The community-driven redevelopment of Seward Park will be an historic opportunity to bring new housing, jobs and private investment to the Lower East Side," Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel said. "Seward Park is the latest example of Mayor Bloomberg's commitment to revitalizing neighborhoods in all five boroughs." 

“Today marks another historic milestone for the Lower East Side generally and Seward Park in particular,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “With the transformation of six acres of underutilized land into new housing, commercial and open space, we will not only create much-needed neighborhood amenities, but also generate thousands of new jobs. 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 collaborative and grassroots nature of this process has borne fruit, and we are excited to be taking this critical step in the development of this Lower East Side community,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “The affordable housing that will be built here represents an opportunity for the area’s residents and working-class New Yorkers to continue to grow with the neighborhood, to help define its character, and add to its stability. The Community Board, elected officials, and the Task Force have shown extraordinary resolve in coming to a consensus that creates a plan that puts these sites into productive use and allows for a reasonable and carefully planned development to take place.” 

“This RFP is great news for the Lower East Side community and for our local economy and goes a long way to support both new and existing merchants, said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I’m proud the Council was able to secure many provisions in the RFP, including greater community involvement in the process as well as increased permanent affordable housing units and reserved land for a potential school. I want to thank Council Members Chin and Mendez and the Bloomberg administration for working together to ensure this is a transparent process that best benefits the community and city.” 

"I am proud to be a part of the historic development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area," said Council Member Margaret Chin. "As a member of the task force that helped to shape this RFP, I want thank the Bloomberg Administration and Community Board 3 for ensuring that the Lower East Side community's voice was a part of this process. I also want to thank Seth Pinsky, the Economic Development Corporation, and Commissioner Wambua, for incorporating the community priorities into this RFP. I know that the development of SPURA will be even more successful because it is responsive to the community's needs, as well as the City's at large." 

"This is a major step forward in our effort to create a vibrant, mixed-use community at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “The development plan is the result of an open, inclusive process that brought together stakeholders from throughout our Lower East Side community. With the RFP going out today, we are writing a new and exciting chapter in the rich, diverse history of this wonderful neighborhood. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, the members of Community Board 3, and my fellow Lower Manhattan elected officials for their tireless efforts on behalf of this project." 

“The Lower East Side community has been waiting 45 years for today.  Community board 3’s land use committee and SPURA taskforce have worked tirelessly for the past 4 years to ensure that the RFP released today reflects the priorities of this community, which include mixed income housing, former site tenant preference, and local partnerships,” said Gigi Li, Chair of Community Board 3. “We are proud to have worked with Councilmembers Chin and Mendez, HDP, and EDC on Seward Park, and look forward to the site further enriching our neighborhood.” 

"After all these years, it's fitting that a community-driven process moved SPURA forward," said Senator Daniel Squadron. "From new affordable housing that is so critical to the continued vibrancy and diversity of the Lower East Side, to multi-use development that will provide jobs and vital community use and bring new businesses into our neighborhood, we've worked long and hard to reach this point. Working together with my colleagues in government and our tireless community leaders, we all made this possible." 

“Today, we take an important step forward in terms of implementing our collective vision for Seward Park rebirth and renewal, through the official release of the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project RFP,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez. “Given the scope and substance of this project—including essential affordable housing, open space, community facility, commercial and educational cornerstones—this RFP process represents a singular opportunity to shape our community landscape and the lives of successive generations of New Yorkers. As we move forward, I urge respondents to understand the unique history of this site, pay close attention to the recommendations of the Seward Park Task Force, and to submit plans that will manifestly benefit our connected communities.” 

“The release of this RFP brings the Lower Eastside neighborhood one step closer to revitalizing the large vacant lots south of Delancey Street with badly-needed affordable housing and other targeted development,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “As this process continues, and as part of the Community Taskforce, our office looks forward to selecting a program that best meets the goals of this project’s many stakeholders.  By engaging multiple community groups and stakeholders, SPURA has set an example for community-based planning that could be a model for future development of public land in our City.” 

“The announcement of the RFP for the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project is welcome news for the Lower East Side, heralding a future that will include an appropriate mix of affordable and middle income housing, commercial development, and desperately needed new public spaces that can meet the community’s critical need for more open space and public classroom seats,” said Rep. Maloney. 

“Redeveloping this area promises additional affordable housing and commercial real estate options,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “As this process moves forward, my focus will be ensuring continued involvement from the local community.” 

The Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project, which has already received all necessary public land use and environmental approvals, grew out of extraordinarily cooperative grassroots community leadership, focused on consensus building and working in partnership with the City. The guidelines for the plan were forged over the past four years, with monthly meetings led by the Community Board, in coordination with a team of representatives from the Bloomberg Administration, in order to come to an agreement on this historic plan. As a result of this extensive collaboration, sites that have largely sat vacant for more than four decades will finally be developed and reintegrated into the vital, urban fabric of the Lower East Side. Additionally, as part of the RFP process, the City has been meeting with a Task Force designated by the Community Board, who have included their priorities for the project in the RFP itself, thereby continuing the partnership with the local stakeholders during the RFP process. 

The RFP includes the following provisions and requirements: 

  • Up to 1.65 million square feet of total development
  • Provides for 1,000 units of housing, with 50% of the units being permanently affordable for low, moderate, and middle income households, as well as seniors
  • Delineates an approximately 60/40 mix of housing and commercial space
  • Requires the construction of a 15,000-square-foot publicly accessible open space
  • Reserves land for a potential new school
  • Creates approximately 1,000 permanent jobs and 5,000 construction jobs
  • Expands and relocates the Essex Street Market, to the site on the southeast corner of Delancey and Essex, to accommodate current and new vendors in a more efficient facility, potentially doubling the number of small businesses currently at the market.
  • Encourages additional community facility space throughout the project. 

One or multiple developers may be selected to develop any or all of the sites, and it is anticipated that a designation will be made by the end of 2013. Proposals must be submitted by Monday, May 6, 2013. For more information and to download the RFP, visit: www.nycedc.com/sewardpark 

Five of the sites included in the RFP were acquired as part of a 1965 federal urban renewal plan that called for commercial and housing development, with demolition of the sites beginning in 1967.  While portions of the plan were implemented, five sites remained undeveloped and have been used largely for surface parking. Several attempts were made to develop the sites over the years, but proposals ultimately failed to move forward due to lack of consensus on the best use of the sites. The original Seward Park Extension Urban Renewal Plan expired in 2005, 40 years after its adoption. Additionally City-owned sites in the vicinity incorporated into the new plan include the Essex Street Market and related market buildings. 

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives. 

About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):

HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. Since the plan’s inception, more than 142,800 affordable homes have been financed. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd  

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