Developers Seek Answers to Seward Park Questions

spura rfp 1

It’s been awhile since we checked in on the Seward Park Project. Developers have until May 6 to submit their proposals for the nine sites in the vicinity of Delancey Street.  Every so often, the NYC Economic Development Corp. posts answers to questions that have been submitted regarding the Request for Proposals (RFP). Nothing too dramatic, but we wanted to give you a flavor of the online Q&A.

The RFP is quite lengthy, since it is both the reflection of a three-year long community-driven process as well as city development priorities.  Some of the questions leave the impression that developers are struggling to understand how best to address the many objectives detailed in the RFP.  The Economic Development Corp. and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development will select developers after consulting with a community task force.

spura rfp 2

The document includes a section called “community criteria,” which was written by the task force, a group of local stakeholders including members of Community Board 3 and LES elected officials.   In many respects, it matches the city’s vision, which is spelled out in the main section of the RFP. But there are differences.  For example, the task force states, “No single retail space should be in excess of 30,000 square feet,” and in another bullet point adds,  “more than one developer should be selected to carry out this project.”

One questioner asked the city, “which of the community criteria is required?” Here’s how officials answered:

The criteria listed under Additional Priorities in the RFP are specific preferences identified by the Task Force. As stated in the RFP, the extent to which a Respondent incorporates the Community Criteria into their Proposal is one of the Selection Criteria. The Selection Criteria listed in the RFP are all important to NYCEDC and HPD.
Another person wanted to know, “Will the Respondent offering the highest purchase price be deemed the Developer?” In response, the city agencies said, no, the purchase price is only one of several factors to be considered.  There were a couple of questions about height limits on Site #9, where the current Essex Street Market is located.   The plan includes the creation of a new market on the south side of Delancey Street.  Apartments, and possibly ground floor retail space, are envisioned in a new building on the old market site.  There’s an 80 foot height cap on Essex Street, but the questioners wanted to know whether it might be possible to go higher.  The answer:
The Parcels north of Delancey Street are part of the Lower East Side/East Village rezoning adopted in 2008. As such, Parcel 9 would be required to be developed according to this existing zoning, which is C4-4A. This district has a height limit of 80 ft. A small portion of Parcel 9 on Delancey Street is within a C6-2A zoning district, which has a height limit of 120 ft.
The city is accepting questions in writing until April 8.  All answers will be posted by April 14.   If you’re interested in viewing all of the Q&A files, click here.