Mayor Mentions SPURA; Long Road Ahead in 2012

Seward Park redevelopment area.

In last week’s State of the City Address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made reference to the Seward Park redevelopment project (SPURA). In a section of his speech detailing various development projects, Bloomberg said, “This year, we’ll take steps to bring more affordable housing to the Lower East Side around Delancey Street to a site that has sat largely vacant for a half-century.”

While it was just a mention, the mayor’s remarks reminded us that SPURA has kept a fairly low profile since a an environmental review hearing took place in October.  We got in touch with the NYC Economic Development Corp (EDC)., which is overseeing the project, to find out where things stand.

The truth is there’s not a lot to report.  In the October hearing, Lower East Side residents and other interested parties offered their feedback on a “draft scoping document” meant to guide the environmental review.  Up next (but still months away), the EDC will present a draft Environmental Impact Statement, covering a wide-range of  “adverse impacts” anticipated from the development of a mixed-use (residential, commercial) complex on the 7-acre site.

In April, there will be another public hearing, a step that is mandated under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a seven month process.  The ULURP application will lay out a proposed site-by-site plan for SPURA.  Finally, the city will issue a ‘request for proposals” from prospective developers. So, while the project has gained enough momentum to warrant a mention by the mayor, there’s still a very long road ahead.

Next month, city officials will appear for Community Board 3’s land use committee — updating the status of the environmental review.