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New York Times: “Agreement Seems Near” on SPURA

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Photo by A. Jesse Jiryu Davis.

For the first time in three years, the New York Times weighs in with a report on the Seward Park redevelopment talks. The headline reads, “Agreement Seems Near on Long-Stalled Lower East Side Project,” in a story posted online this evening. Reporter Cara Buckley writes:

…local leaders are slowly coming to an agreement over what should be built at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, as the plots are collectively known. After two and a half years of intensive meetings and negotiations, members of Community Board 3, which represents the area, are hoping that by mid-January they will finish up guidelines for the parcels’ development.

The piece acknowledges some of the challenges that lie ahead and, of course, Buckley tries (unsuccessfully) to find out what Sheldon Silver thinks about the ongoing SPURA deliberations:

One official who looms over the discussion is Sheldon Silver, the State Assembly speaker, whose district includes the land and whose power base is in those co-ops. His approval is seen as crucial. “The speaker has tremendous respect for the leadership and members of Community Board 3 and their effort to achieve a true consensus about the future of Seward Park,” Mr. Silver’s spokeswoman, Sisa Moyo, said in a statement. “He believes it is important for that process to take its course before commenting.”

One other interesting tidbit: community board member Joel Kaplan tells Buckley that, while he favors commercial development on SPURA, he could accept 20% affordable housing and 80% market rate on the parcels. Meanwhile, Damaris Reyes, executive director of GOLES wants 100% affordable.  The draft guidelines call for a 50/50 or a 60/40 split between the two general housing types.

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