City Planning Commission Holds Seward Park Public Hearing

Yesterday’s City Planning meeting at 22 Reade Street.

The City Planning Commission hosted a public hearing yesterday on the Seward Park Mixed-Used Development Plan, a proposal that would transform nine parcels adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge that have languished for four decades.  A sweeping land use proposal garnered the endorsement of Community Board 3 in May. As part of the public review process (ULURP), the Planning Commission and the City Council must now weigh in before developers begin submitting proposals.

The land use document allows for 900 apartments, up to 600,000 square foot of commercial space, a new Essex Street market, a small park, a hotel and community facilities.

At the meeting, the proposed plan enjoyed support from the Mayor’s office and members of the community board, as well as from other local leaders and activists. Jeff Mandel, on hand to voice the Mayor Bloomberg’s support for the plan, commended the community board for building consensus on the Lower East Side regarding the contentious issue of the Seward Park site. “They have been fantastic leaders in marshaling a wide range of stakeholder input,” he said. Mandel added that the community board’s efforts are especially impressive given the fact that agreement on a redevelopment vision had been so elusive for so many years.

City Planning Commission Holds Seward Park Hearing Tomorrow

The Seward Park sites south of Delancey Street. Photo by Vivienne Gucwa.

Here’s a reminder about tomorrow’s City Planning Commission hearing on the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Plan. After winning support from Community Board this spring, the sweeping land use application is making its way through the approval process.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment about the proposal, which would allow for 900 apartments, up to 600,000 square foot of commercial space and community facilities. The meeting begins at 10 a.m., and will likely be a drawn-out affair (the Seward Park item is #17 on City Planning’s meeting agenda).

In the hours before CB3’s momentous vote, the city agreed to permanent affordability for 50% of the apartments to be built on the Seward Park parcels, in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge.   During tomorrow’s hearing, said board Chair Gigi Li, CB3 will continue to advocate for several other provisions omitted from the city’s plan. They include: a new public school, limits on big box stores and guarantees concerning local hiring.

Also at the hearing, another show of force is expected from a group known as the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side. In recent weeks, the organization has stepped up its call for 100% affordable housing on the Seward Park site and taken aim at City Council member Margaret Chin. Today they announced a plan to collect 10,000 signatures in support of their campaign.   Coalition members met with Chin several weeks ago, and later denounced her decision to support a 50% affordable/50% market rate housing compromise.  Chin has called the coalition’s stance unrealistic and unproductive.

The hearing takes place at 22 Reade Street, Spector Hall.   We’ll have a full report follwing tomorrow’s meeting.


The City’s Plan For the Essex Street Market

Essex Street Market.

Leading up to next Wednesday night’s town hall meeting on the Seward park Mixed-Use Development Project, we’ve been taking a look at key aspects of the city’s plan. As you may know, Community Board 3 will be voting next month on the land use application authorizing the project to move forward. This meeting will be one of the last chances to speak out about the sweeping proposal to build hundreds of apartments, stores and community facilities on nine parcels near the Williamsburg Bridge. This afternoon we focus on what the land use application says about the Essex Street Market.

Land Use Plan for Seward Park Project Now Available Online

Rendering: NYC Economic Development Corp.

This morning we reported that the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project had been “certified into ULURP,” meaning that the public review process had officially begun. This afternoon the complete application has been posted online. You can read it on the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s web site or view the document here.


Approval Process For Seward Park Development Project Officially Begins

Seward Park redevelopment area.

The City Planning Commission yesterday officially certified the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project into “ULURP.”  This means the first steps have now been taken in the 7-month public approval process required under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.  The plan for the 9-parcel site adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge calls for 900 apartments, about 600,000 square feet of commercial space and community facilities.

Community Board 3 now has 60 days to approve or reject the ULURP application for the development site formerly known as SPURA.  The plan then goes on to the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. If all goes according to schedule, approval would occur in October of this year. The city would then issue “requests for proposals” from developers.