Press Release

City Launches Community Visioning Process for 70 Mulberry Street

September 16, 2020

Three-Month Process Will Shape Plans for Future of Community Building in Chinatown. 

NEW YORK – NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo today announced the launch of a three-month community visioning process for the future of 70 Mulberry Street. The historic building, located in the heart of Chinatown, was devastated by a fire on January 23rd that displaced five local non-profit organizations. The building is known for being a hub of community life and was formerly P.S. 23, a school that was attended by generations of area residents.  

The visioning process formally kicks off today with a meeting involving consultants from 3x3 Design, who will serve as facilitators, and an advisory committee made up of building tenants, a representative from Manhattan Community Board 3, and local elected officials. During the visioning process, the consultants from 3x3 Design will engage community stakeholders and gather feedback on the future of the building. The consultants will focus on a community-driven visioning plan that builds trust and inclusion towards a collective vision for 70 Mulberry Street. The process will culminate in the creation of a final report that will serve as the guiding document to activate the community’s vision.  

“We are thrilled to take this important next step to develop a shared vision for the future of 70 Mulberry Street,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “This building is a cherished part of the Chinatown community and the city is committed to rebuilding in a way that reflects community needs and honors the history of 70 Mulberry.”  

The engagement process will conclude with final recommendations in mid-December. The community visioning process will engage residents, community stakeholders, non-profit organizations, small business owners, and local property owners. This work builds upon the work the City of New York has done in meeting with and engaging building tenants, elected officials, community leaders, small business owners, the local community board, and the general public.  

The project team from 3x3 Design, a city-certified M/WBE, includes experts in urban planning, public policy, communications, and design strategy. These experts are experienced in public engagement, project management, and facilitation. The team is linguistically diverse, ensuring communication that will be accessible in multiple languages. 3x3 Design was selected by the advisory committee of building tenants, a representative from Manhattan Community Board 3, and local elected officials. The advisory committee unanimously selected 3x3 Design out of the proposals submitted. 

“I'm pleased that the community visioning process has begun for 70 Mulberry Street," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "It's important that the city engage with stakeholders like residents, business owners, community leaders and local officials to plan a shared future for this building that has played such an important role in the history of Chinatown."  

“70 Mulberry is a vital community anchor and I’m pleased to see progress toward it being rebuilt for the future,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) “As this process goes forward, I remain committed to ensuring local residents and all of the neighborhood have their voices heard and are fully engaged in designing the future of this local gem.”  

“I thank the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Community Advisory Group, and everyone involved in the intensive review process for selecting 3x3 to facilitate the community visioning process for this enormously important project,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, who represents Chinatown. “I look forward to working with DCAS, the Community Advisory Group, 3x3, my colleagues in elected office, and local stakeholders and residents to ensure that the City continues moving quickly toward a plan to restore this beloved building that is reflective of the community’s needs and aspirations, and to return the organizations displaced by the fire to their homes with the utmost expediency.”  

“Amid the rebuilding process of 70 Mulberry, the focus needs to be on community engagement and community participation in all aspects of planning,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “Thank you to the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Community Advisory Group and others for prioritizing community engagement through selecting 3x3 to help facilitate those conversations. I look forward to working with 3x3 and our community to ensure that 70 Mulberry is rebuilt in a way which first and foremost serves the needs and wants of our community.”  

“The community needs to have a seat at the table to share their vision for 70 Mulberry, and I thank DCAS for committing to launch this three-month community engagement process,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “70 Mulberry has always been an integral part of Chinatown’s history, and now we must work together to seize on the opportunity to ensure it is part of our future.”  

“Chen Dance Center looks forward to finally having arts space designed for its programming serving community children and families, NYC artists and audiences,” said H.T. Chen, Artistic Director of Chen Dance Center. “The envisioning process is key to the rebuilding of 70 Mulberry Street as a beacon of culture and the Chinatown community. We are grateful for the support of the Mayor’s office, DCAS, DFTA and elected officials.”  

“Chinatown Manpower Project is eager for the start of the community engagement process that will give voices to those whose lives were directly impacted by the loss of our 70 Mulberry Street building, a community beacon for decades,” said Hong Shing Lee, Executive Director of Chinatown Manpower Project. “We look forward to hearing from those served by the 5 non-profits, nearby residents, surrounding small businesses, local property owners, as well as community stakeholders to describe how the building intersects with their lives and their visions of re-building 70 Mulberry Street as a hub of community resources. CMP will assist in facilitating this process in every way we can.”  

“The Chinese-American Planning Council looks forward to starting the community visioning process and continuing with the rebuilding of 70 Mulberry Street,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “We would like to thank the Mayor’s Office, DCAS, DFTA, and elected officials for their support since the fire. We are hopeful that CPC’s Chinatown Senior Center will return to the site as soon as possible, so more than 300 seniors per day will have a safe space in the new building for a hot meal, social interaction, cultural programs, English classes, public benefits enrollment, and more.”  

“The journey to a new 70 Mulberry Street building that serves the Chinatown community is now truly underway,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America. “The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in partnership with the Mayor’s office, DCAS, DFTA, elected officials, community representatives, and its fellow tenants looks forward to the historic moment when 70 Mulberry will be returned to Chinatown—stronger, more vibrant, and highly sustainable.”  

“United East Athletics Association appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with the 70 Mulberry Street Advisory Committee. We thank DCAS for handling the consultant selection process in a timely manner.” said Echo Wong, Treasurer and Board of Director of United East Athletics Association. "We look forward to sharing our visions towards rebuilding 70 Mulberry Street, as well as hearing from our non-profit neighbors, the local businesses, building owners, residents and community groups.”  

In July, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $80 million in funding to rebuild 70 Mulberry Street and the creation of an advisory committee that will support public engagement. No additional demolition work is planned and the City will prioritize options to preserve what is salvageable from the existing structure and a re-development that acknowledges the history and significance of the site. All building tenants who were displaced by the fire will be welcomed back to 70 Mulberry Street when construction is completed. Since the January fire, the City successfully recovered the vast majority of tenant possessions that remained in the building, assisted with the relocation of tenants, and undertook work at the site to best ensure public safety. 

About DCAS

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) provides shared services to support the operations of New York City government. Its commitment to equity, effectiveness, and sustainability guides its work with City agencies on recruiting, hiring, and training employees; providing facilities management for 56 public buildings; acquiring, selling, and leasing City property; purchasing more than $1 billion in supplies and equipment each year; and implementing conservation and safety programs through the City's facilities and vehicle fleet.

Nick Benson