Breaking: Seward Park RFP is Released

This morning the NYC Economic Development Corp. released the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the six acre Seward Park Mixed-Use Development site.  The move has been more than four decades in the making; the development parcels were bulldozed in the name of urban renewal back in 1967.  Proposals from developers are due on May 6.  The city expects to select the winning bid or bids by the fall of this year.  The project includes 1000 apartments (half affordable/half market rate) as well as up to 600,000 square feet for commercial uses. Click through to see the executive summary. You can see the full RFP here.

There will be an information session for the RFP on February 11 at 2 p.m.  at the EDC’s offices, 110 William Street.

More to come…

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (“NYCEDC”) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) are pleased to issue this Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for the redevelopment of nine parcels with full land use approvals, that are owned by the City of New York (the “City”) and located on over six acres on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This project is an historic opportunity to build and operate an approximately 1.65 million square foot development (the “Project”) on the largest contiguous parcel of underdeveloped City-owned land in Manhattan south of 96th Street, which has been a void in the urban fabric for 45 years.

Proposals will be accepted to develop and operate the entire Project or portions thereof (“Proposal(s)”). The Project is envisioned to contain a vibrant mix of uses, including residential, commercial and community facilities; a locally-oriented, publicly-accessible open space; a new and expanded Essex Street Market; and underground parking, while setting aside space for the potential future development of a new school.

Through a close partnership with the local community, the final Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (“ULURP”) approval, detailed in Appendix A, for this historic Project was obtained on October 11, 2012 (“ULURP Approval”). Development entities that submit Proposals (“Respondents”) must integrate the ULURP Approval parameters into a creative and transformative development. The ULURP Approval allows for a ratio of approximately 60% housing to 40% commercial space. Community facility space is also encouraged. The Project must create 1,000 residential units: 50% market rate units and 50% affordable units. The Project may also include a dynamic range of commercial uses. Additionally, Parcels 1-6 are part of a Large Scale General Development zoning plan (“LSGD”) which promotes flexibility by allowing developers to shift limited bulk across the Project within building envelopes.

A competitive response to this RFP must describe a plan to accomplish the following goals (the “Project Goals”):

  •  Create a thriving mixed-use, mixed-income development including permanently affordable housing available to a range of incomes;
  • Plan and execute a financially feasible development that ensures the project requirements will be achieved;
  • Incorporate design excellence in the site plan and building designs to encourage active street life, thriving retail and creative integration of the Project into the local context;
  • Develop the Project in a manner that responds to the needs of the vibrant and diverse Lower East Side community and promotes openness and interaction through its amenities, urban design, and proposed partnership programs;
  • Generate returns to the City through the Project’s purchase price and new tax revenue attributable to the Project;
  • Expand and preserve quality jobs and maximize permanent employment opportunities for the City’s low-income persons.

The nine City-owned parcels are located near the intersection of Essex Street and Delancey Street, as shown on the Location Map on page 4, and together are over six acres in size (collectively, the “Project Site”; individually, the “Parcel(s)”). Respondents are permitted to submit Proposals for a single Parcel, a subset of Parcels or the entire Project Site.Neither HPD nor New York City Housing Development Corporation (“HDC”) subordinate loan subsidy will be provided to support the Project (“HPD/HDC Subsidy”), but other benefits in the form of tax abatements and exemptions, low-cost financing, and energy savings programs described in Appendix B may be available to compliant developments.

NYCEDC and HPD’s close partnership with the community is continuing through the RFP process. The community criteria on pages 17-18, which were developed in conjunction with this RFP, will be considered in the selection of a Developer.

Respondents may consist of an individual development entity or a team of development entities. Respondent’s Proposals are due by hand or Express Mail or other nationally-known overnight courier on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 4:00PM. Interviews and negotiations will continue through the summer of 2013. The Respondent(s) selected to develop the Project is/are referred to herein as the “Developer(s).” It is anticipated that the Developer(s) will be selected by fall of 2013.

 

Here’s what is spelled out in the community criteria:

Continuing the partnership between CB3 and the City, the City agreed to work with a Seward Park RFP Task Force designated by CB3 which is comprised of elected officials and representatives of CB3 and community-based organizations (“Task Force”). The Task Force met prior to the RFP release to generate community criteria, building on their previous work to develop the CB3 Guidelines and subsequent resolutions. Respondents shall address the Community Criteria in their Proposal.

This partnership with the community will continue throughout the RFP process. The Task Force’s feedback on qualifying responses will be considered as part of the Selection Criteria.

The Community Criteria as stated by the Task Force are as follows:

CB3 reiterates the importance of the following Project Requirements laid out in the RFP:

  • The creation of at least 1,000 units of housing of which 50% will be permanently affordable. Of the 1,000 units, 10% will be senior housing, 20% will be low-income, 10% moderate-income, and 10% middle-income;
  • Former site tenants will be given preference for units for which they income qualify;
  • Mixed-income buildings are encouraged and in such buildings the market and affordable units should be fully integrated and 40% of the affordable units must be two-bedrooms or larger;
  • Dormitory housing is prohibited and any Proposal that includes dormitories will be considered non-responsive;
  • Proposals that include a “Local Partner” defined as a locally-based organization or locally-based entity with a history of improving the quality of life for CB3 via tangible social services, cultural activities, financial investments and/or housing, will be given preference for selection;
  • The Essex Street Market will continue its function as a public market providing a variety of vendors, products, price points and stall sizes in a larger, newly developed space. All reasonable moving-related expenses will be covered for the existing vendors at the time of a move;
  • Land will be reserved for the construction of a public school on Site 5 through 2023.

 

Additional Priorities: CB3 emphasizes the importance of the following additional criteria which it considers essential for a successful project:

  • As the SPURA project proceeds toward completion over the upcoming years, each phase of the development should include the same income mix of housing as the overall project, i.e. the affordable units should not be left to later phases;
  • No single retail space should be in excess of 30,000 square feet;
  • More than one Developer should be selected to carry out this project, and preference should be given in the selection to local Developers, or Developers who partner with a local Developer;
  • All construction jobs created in the development should be at prevailing wage rates;
  • All permanent jobs created as a part of the operation of this Project should be consistent with all applicable laws;
  • Prior to HireNYC’s involvement in the Project, the developer should commit to an explicit partnership with a local group, committing resources to support the following: job fairs, job training, job placements prior to construction and occupancy (such as clearing of lots, security on lots, etc.), in order to maximize employment opportunities for low-income persons at all stages of the Project;
  • Affordable community facilities which provide such amenities as a community center, youth center, senior center or nursing home are preferred uses;
  • Nightlife establishments especially large venues with very late-night hours are discouraged;
  • The community has determined that a public school is needed based on recent studies as well as the fact that this Project will attract a large amount of families. CB3 encourages all Respondents to review the CB3 Resolution in support of the ULURP and UDAAP applications relating to the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development, dated June 1, 2012, which includes the original Guidelines established in January 2011 and the Design Principles approved in June 2011 (included in the Site File).