Head of Agency Overseeing Seward Park Project Reappointed by de Blasio

Rendering: Essex Crossing. ShoP Architects.

A new mayoral administration, of course, means the winds of change are blowing through City Hall.  During his inauguration yesterday, Mayor de Blasio promised to “put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love.”   But in at least one city agency with a major Lower East Side project on its plate, the new mayor has decided to stay the course.

Rendering: Essex Crossing. ShoP Architects.
Rendering: Essex Crossing. ShoP Architects.

As the clock ticked down on 2013, de Blasio chose to reappoint Kyle Kimball, a Bloomberg holdover, as president of the NYC Economic Development Corp. (EDC).  The EDC is the lead agency overseeing Essex Crossing, the large mixed-use project coming to the Seward Park redevelopment site on Delancey Street.

The Observer’s Politicker blog called the decision an “eyebrow raising choice” given the fact that de Blasio “framed his liberal candidacy in opposition to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s economic vision.”  According to the story, de Blasio responded “somewhat testily” when asked about the KImball appointment:

“I’ve set forth an exceedingly clear, aggressive, progressive agenda. It’s there: black and white. It’s the exact same one I put forward in the primary and the general election–it ain’t changing,” he stated.  Mr. de Blasio, arguing he would only appoint people in line with his own values, earlier hailed Mr. Kimball–the second Goldman Sachs alum to join his team–as someone who would spearhead job growth in the emerging tech sector, the outer boroughs and spur far-reaching developments like the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.  “I needed someone who understood how to get the work done, who had the values and an ability to put those values into action,” Mr. de Blasio said of Mr. Kimball. “He’s been doing it with great distinction.”

According to the Epoch Times, Kimball singled out the Lower East Side project as the type of initiative he would seek to foster during his tenure:

Kimball said he would work to implement development projects “authored by the community,” what he called “contextual development.” He cited the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project as one initiated by the local community where the EDC got involved to help implement a community designed project.

In September, the city awarded a contract to three development firms for the Seward Park site.  Groundbreaking is expected in the spring of next year.