City Releases SPURA Document; Requests Drawings for New Essex Street Market

In our coverage of the Seward Park redevelopment process last week, we mentioned that some community activists were less than thrilled that the city hired an architectural firm without consulting them.  The firm, Beyer Binder Belle, began working with CB3 this month.  CB3 member Harvey Epstein asked for a copy of the RFP (request for proposals) that led to the hiring of the company.

We’ve now had a look at the five page document, which was made public late last week. There aren’t a lot of big surprises, but the RFP does offer a fairly comprehensive explanation of how the city is approaching the SPURA planning process.

A lot of community activists are sure to seize on a section of the RFP concerning the Essex Street Market. The Economic Development Corp., the lead city agency on the project, wanted the successful applicant to:

Provide more specific site planning and 1-2 simple renderings for the layout of a new Essex Street Market, likely to be located on Essex Street between Delancey Street and Broome Street.

Community Board 3’s guidelines, approved last month, call on the city to leave the market in its current location, north of Delancey Street. The EDC’s planning consultant, John Shapiro, argued that the current market building was inadequate and he recommended building a new, more expansive public market in a “superior location.”

The RFP indicates the firm would be hired for approximately 9 months to work with the city and the community board on preliminary design issues. Responsibilities were to include: evaluating current zoning restrictions, analyzing traffic flow/parking issues and coordinating three public presentations. The city was willing to pay up to $75,000.

You can see the full text of the RFP after the jump.

Seward Park
Urban Design Scope of Work

I. Introduction
New York City Economic Development Corporation (“NYCEDC”) seeks an urban design firm to assist in the analysis of nine sites (the “Sites”) in the Manhattan neighborhood of the Lower East Side (“LES”) that are collectively known as “Seward Park.”  The City of New York (the “City”) anticipates proceeding with the redevelopment by creating an appropriate development program (the “Program”) for the Sites that will improve current land use and generate significant economic benefits for the local community and the City as a whole.

The majority of the Sites were part of the former Seward Park Extension Urban Renewal Area (“SPURA”), which expired in July 2005.  Most of the Sites were cleared in advance of new development associated with SPURA, but plans have repeatedly failed to come to fruition. Redevelopment of Seward Park offers an opportunity to transform several vacant and underutilized City-owned properties into a thriving mixed-use development of over one million square feet.  However, the success of this project will depend on the development of a program which meets a variety of needs, including a dynamic mix of uses, financial viability, and community needs, and complements the identity and urban design of the LES.

In 2008, Community Board 3 formed a committee to develop a consensus plan for the development of the Seward Park sites.  They invited the City to participate in the process in 2009.  At the time, NYCEDC conducted initial due diligence work, including conceptual urban design, infrastructure analysis, and cost estimation.  After working with a facilitator since Spring 2010, CB3 is close to reaching consensus on a set of guidelines.  In order to proceed to the next steps of scoping for the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) and eventually reaching ULURP, NYCEDC, along with its agency partners at the New York City Departments of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) and City Planning (“DCP”), need to expand upon its initial work to further develop  urban design concepts.  This work will assist to refine construction and infrastructure cost estimates and prepare for EIS scoping and ULURP.

NYCEDC will engage an urban design consultant team (the “Consultant”) to develop urban design deliverables over an approximately nine month period for the purposes of: evaluating the impact on the built environment of the land uses and program mix defined through the ongoing public process; presenting the urban design scenarios in public meetings; facilitating discussion between EDC and its partner agencies on urban design issues; preparing documentation for the EIS scoping process; and related pre-ULURP tasks.

II. Scope of Work:

This scope of work requires four main tasks:
• Task 1: Urban Design and Site Planning
• Task 2: Preliminary Transportation Study
• Task 3: Site Plan Revisions
• Task 4: Public Outreach

The level of detail for the urban design study includes building heights, bulk, setbacks, and massing, and high-level concepts for the public realm including the street, sidewalk and open space network. This task does not include detailed urban design guidelines (i.e. articulation, façade design, materiality or detailed street sections). Site planning services will include detailed site configurations, specification of land uses, and massing diagrams.  The Consultant will prepare these analyses for any individual Site as requested.

For Task 1, the Consultant shall:

  • Review existing zoning for the study area
  • Review the land use program provided by NYCEDC.
  • Based on the program mix provided to the consultant by NYCEDC for each of the nine City-owned sites in the study area, prepare two urban design and zoning scenarios: 1) existing zoning scenario and 2) rezoning scenario.
  • Provide more specific site planning and 1-2 simple renderings for the layout of a new Essex Street Market, likely to be located on Essex Street between Delancey Street and Broome Street.
  • For the 1) existing zoning scenario, 2) the rezoning scenario, and 3) the Essex Street Market sketches, prepare variations as defined by NYCEDC.
  • Attend regular meetings with project stakeholders (on an as-needed basis, approximately bi-weekly):

o Project meetings with NYCEDC, DCP and HPD
o Design review meetings with DCP
o Coordination meetings with NYCDOT
o Coordination meetings with other agencies and stakeholders
o Coordination meetings with infrastructure analysis and cost estimating consultants

This work will form the base material for public presentations and interagency review.

Task 1 Deliverables:
1. Site plans for scenarios/Essex Street Market sketches (subject to revision)
a. Including variations
2. 3-D massing diagrams
a. Including variations
3. Program tables broken down by site
a. Including variations
4. Planning graphics (as needed)

Task 2: Preliminary Transportation Study

Conduct a preliminary transportation study of circulation and street widths around the Delancey Street corridor.   This transportation study will be used to inform the parameters for the urban design, site planning, and scoping for the EIS.  Extensive further analysis will be conducted as part of the future EIS, not as part of this scope.

After review of existing zoning for the study area and the land use program provided by NYCEDC, for Task 2, the Consultant shall:

  • Define a traffic study area and traffic analysis locations within, based upon the two (2) urban design/zoning scenarios being developed by the Urban Design Consultant.
  • Determine existing traffic conditions through the collection of physical data includingcstreet and lane widths, signal phasing and timing data, traffic flow prohibitions if any general parking regulations and utilization estimates, and other data needed to conduct traffic level of service analyses.  Official signal timing and phasing plans will also be obtained from NYCDOT Signal Department and will be compared to the information collected in the field to ensure that the correct signal timing and phasing plans are being used.
  • Determine the volume of traffic, including vehicular, pedestrian, and public transit modes, that would be expected for each land use component of the land use program provided by NYCEDC using information available in previously completed development project EISs, vehicular trip generation data from the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Trip Generation Manual, trip generation data contained in the CEQR Technical Manual, and U.S. Census journey-to-work data.
  • Describe existing public transit conditions through the collection of physical data including subway stations and bus stops.
  • Prepare an inventory available off-street parking lots and garages within 1⁄4- to 1⁄2-mile radii of the nine (9) City-owned sites.  Also describe the typical on-street parking regulations in the area, and the approximate amount of legal and available on-street spaces.  Use existing informational resources to project vehicle ownership and on-street parking demand to inform the provision of off-street parking facilities as part of the development.
  • Work interactively and in coordination with the Urban Design Consultant to develop and refine the scenarios from the standpoint of feasibility.  This task includes a qualitative assessment of the physical and geometric aspects of the street grid, such as corners, sidewalks, and crosswalks, in the traffic study area.
  • In order to ensure that the Scenarios do not result in adverse impacts upon the projected vehicular, pedestrian, and public transit conditions, recommend, where appropriate, traffic capacity improvements for all modes, including mitigation and traffic calming measures.
  • Attend regular meetings with project stakeholders, on an as-needed basis:

o Project meetings with NYCEDC, DCP and HPD
o Design review meetings with DCP
o Coordination meetings with NYCDOT
o Coordination meetings with other agencies and stakeholders
o Coordination meetings with infrastructure analysis and cost estimating consultants

Task 2 Deliverables:
1. Inventory of existing traffic conditions as described above to be shown in maps, tables and in other appropriate formats.
2. As requested by NYCEDC, prepare preliminary or qualitative transportation assessments based upon urban design/zoning scenarios.

Task 3: Site Plan Revisions

The Consultant shall prepare up to two revised versions of the initial Scenarios based on feedback from public meetings, City agencies, elected officials, key stakeholders and community groups. Revisions to the site plan and any variations thereof in Task 2 constitute a further, more detailed refinement of the work completed in Task 1 (please refer to Task 1 for more details).

This revised work will form the base material for documentation for the EIS scoping and pre- ULURP process.

Task 3 Deliverables:
1. Revised site plans for scenarios
a. Including variations
2. Revised 3-D massing diagrams
a. Including variations
3. Revised program tables broken down by site
a. Including variations
4. Revised planning graphics (as needed)

Task 4: Public Outreach

The Consultant shall provide public outreach services as needed.  The Consultant will provide for the planning and implementation of events including but not limited to stakeholder outreach sessions and large-scale open public sessions. These public presentations may occur in the evening, with part of the afternoon required for setup and preparation by the Consultant. Upon request by NYCEDC, the Consultant, using design deliverables prepared for Tasks 1, 2 and 3 above, will prepare materials and presentations for public distribution, which may include Power Point presentations, web content, display boards, posters/flyers, brochures, and other materials as needed.

NYCEDC currently anticipates up to three public presentations at Community Board 3 meetings.

Task 4 Deliverables:
1. Preparation of Materials and Attendance at Meetings
a. Community Board 3 Meetings (3)
b. Inter-agency coordination meetings beforehand (NYCEDC and DCP)

III. Proposal Submissions

Please respond to this work plan request with a proposal that contains the following sections, clearly delineated:

A. Project Description
Provide a brief (maximum of  3 pages) Scope of Services outlining how the firm intends to conduct the tasks listed above, including an outline of anticipated steps involved in completing the assignment.

B. Estimated Schedule for Completion
Provide a summary of the schedule for completing the work outlined in this document, noting the following:

  • The initial Community Board meeting may be held as early as mid- to late February 2011, so portions of tasks 1 and 4 will need to be completed early in the process.
  • The remaining public meetings are yet to be determined, but will likely be held in the spring.
  • The EIS scoping, which will be informed by tasks 2 and 3, is anticipated to be conducted in late spring 2011.

C. Cost Proposal

The cost proposal should include a total not-to-exceed cost for each Task, broken down by work hours, staffing and accompanying costs required to complete each task, as well as anticipated expenses.   Please include a staffing proposal identifying the project manager(s) who will serve as the primary point of contact for NYCEDC.  The Consultant shall invoice NYCEDC on a monthly basis and reimbursement will be based upon percent complete of each Task.

Note: The overall budget for this work is not to exceed $75,000. The Preliminary Traffic Study (Task 2) may not exceed $15,000 of this budget.