Last night we posted a full wrap-up from City Hall after the City Council approved the sweeping Seward Park land use application. There’s more reaction today to the historic vote, which ended four decades of acrimony and inaction surrounding the large development site. In a press release, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said:
Seward Park has long had the potential to bring new jobs, new housing and new retail options to one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods… Today we know that that potential will be realized. After nearly half a century of sitting dormant, this piece of real estate – some of the most valuable underdeveloped land anywhere – will finally be transformed. Thanks to an historic and unprecedented community planning process, the plan that is moving directly reflects the input of residents, community members and other stakeholders.
Seth Pinsky, president of the NYC Economic Development Corp. (the lead agency in the project), added:
The approval of the Seward Park redevelopment plan is a major achievement in the history of the Lower East Side and the entire City… With this plan, an already vibrant community will be enhanced with the creation of world-class amenities, new job opportunities, and additional economic activity. Congratulations to everyone, in particular the representatives and members of the local community, whose hard work and clear vision have led to this great moment.
Mat Wambua, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said:
This is an important step forward. We have made the most of this opportunity to work with the community –the residents who will be most affected by this development – to create a comprehensive plan that will benefit New York City for generations to come… It has taken 45 years to get to this point: this is remarkable in and of itself, but more remarkable is that this is a plan for the ages, hammered out by the people. I thank everyone who has had a hand in this, and particularly the planning and development staff at HPD who worked side-by-side with colleagues and community to iron out differences and create this unparalleled opportunity for planned growth and renewal.
The press release noted that: “The City will now move forward with a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking developers for the sites, which is expected to be issued jointly by NYCEDC and HPD in early 2013. Prior to releasing the RFP, the City will meet with a Task Force designated by the Community Board, continuing the partnership with the local stakeholders during the RFP process.”
Officials with the Economic Development Corp. will brief CB3’s land use committee next Tuesday night on the next steps. Community Board Chair Gigi Li has yet to announce the members of the new task force. Local elected officials will be represented; there will be five community board members; and two representatives from “local stakeholder organizations.