Here’s an update on the planning for Essex Crossing, the large residential and commercial project coming to the former Seward Park urban renewal area.
First off, Community Board 3 has been asked by Delancey Street Associates, the development team, to appoint a group to provide input regarding a park-like space on Broome Street. The community-driven process is part of the agreement signed by the builders earlier this year. Last week, CB3 announced that its parks committee would be the venue for envisioning the 15,000 square foot park. Public meetings will take place in the first part of 2014 to solicit feedback from the neighborhood. Also, CB3 has appointed a point-person to work with the developers with the overall design of Essex Crossing. Gigi Li, the community board’s chairperson, has given the job to Ricky Leung, who served on the committee that has spent much of the past four years developing guidelines for the Seward Park project. In addition to his role as a tenant activist in the Two Bridges Neighborhood, Leung is an architect. He’ll work in tandem with a community task force advising the developers.
Also last week, the land use committee discussed the future of vendors in the Essex Street Market. As we have been reporting, longtime vendor Carmen Salvador of Three Brothers Clothing was forced from the market. She has now filed a lawsuit against the Economic Development Corp., which runs the Essex Market and is overseeing the Seward Park development project. The city did not send a representative to the meeting and has declined to discuss Salvador’s situation other than to say she was given several opportunities to address issues (which — according to Salvador — concern her operating days and hours). The land use committee approved a resolution acknowledging that all the facts are not publicly known but objecting to the eviction, which Salvador said happened before the city provided any kind of written notice. The community board is calling on the EDC to provide clear procedures for terminating vendor permits. Agreements between CB3 and the city protect all merchants in good standing who wish to make the move to a new market when it opens several years for now. CB3 now wants to establish guidelines protecting the vendors between now and then. Representatives of a new Essex Street market vendor association wanted to testify last week, but they were unable to attend due to the holiday shopping rush.