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Business Leaders on Lower East Side & Chinatown Agree on New Boundaries

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Lower Orchard - part of the LES BID's proposed expansion plan.

There’s been lots of talk recently about the pros and cons of creating a Chinatown Business Improvement District. Critics of the plan have emerged both in the historic heart of Chinatown, but also in Soho and the Lower East Side.  One major point of contention: the proposed BID’s expansive boundaries, which some people feel would amount to a hostile takeover of parts of the LES, Soho, Noho and Nolita.

In recent weeks, community leaders in all of the impacted neighborhoods have been working to head off  a border war.  It may be awhile before Chinatown and Soho come to terms. But in the last few days, it appears the Lower East Side part of the puzzle has fallen into place.

We’re told the LES Business Improvement District and the Chinatown Partnership (the group pushing the new BID) have now reached a deal on proposed boundaries. According to Bob Zuckerman, the LES BID’s executive director, the new borders are roughly the Bowery on the west — Clinton Street on the east — Houston Street on the north — and Division Street on the south (see current boundaries here). The blocks between Bowery and Chrystie (south of Broome) would be in the Chinatown BID’s area, as well as the blocks between Forsyth and Allen (south of Grand Street).

Proposed Chinatown BID boundaries (in gray).

Even before the Chinatown proposal became known, the LES BID had anticipated an expansion. In the recent past, their focus has been on the redevelopment of Orchard Street above Grand Street. In the years ahead, many of their efforts will be geared towards developing lower Orchard. Recently, the BID opened a new office at 54 Orchard (between Grand and Hester).

Zuckerman said the BID has started the process to make the expansion official:

We have started our door to door outreach with businesses on Clinton Street, Delancey Street and Ludlow Street, and will continue that until we have reached out to all the new areas.  We will be sending out a large mailing later this month to all the property owners in the expansion area. In addition, I will be presenting our expansion plan to the Econ Development committee of CB3 in September.

We’ll have much more on the Chinatown/Soho part of the equation sometime soon.

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