200 People Attend SPURA Open House

Last night, city planning officials and Community Board 3 hosted a “SPURA Open House” inside the vacant Essex Street Market building on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets.

It was a chance for residents to have a look at a styrofoam model depicting various urban design options for the redevelopment of the Seward Park site. Neil Kittredge of the architectural firm Beyer Binder Belle, David Quart of the NYC Economic Development Corp., David McWater of CB3 and others were present to answer questions and listen to feedback.

The open house was arranged after residents and a several members of CB3’s land use committee complained that the community board’s regular SPURA meetings had not provided ample opportunity for community participation.

Joel Feingold, an organizer working for Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), was on hand last night, as well, passing out a two-page letter written by Damaris Reyes, the organization’s executive director. Among other issues, the letter praised the city for holding the open house but it called for a “full, participatory town hall (meeting) where the public’s concerns are recorded and considered.”

Around 200 people dropped by last night.  Some of those in attendance are regulars at CB3’s monthly meetings, but there were also a few new faces. Among them: the real estate broker trying to sell 75 Essex Street (just across from the market building) for $18 million.  The building (home to the Eisner Bros. memorabilia store) backs up to SPURA site #7.  The Eisner family is obviously concerned about what might go up next to their building.

The goal of CB3’s current deliberations is to settle on an urban design plan, including general building height guidelines and open space set-asides. The committee will resume that conversation Monday night, at the Rutgers Community Center, 200 Madison Street (6:30pm).  If you’d like a better sense of where the conversation is headed, take a look at our previous SPURA coverage.