If you still doubt that the former Seward Park urban renewal site is finally poised for redevelopment, here’s some additional proof. The Department of Buildings has approved a pre-demolition plan two buildings on site #5 of the Essex Crossing mixed-use project. According to city records, the DOB signed off on the application at 400 and 402 Grand St. on April 4.
The name on the application is Donald Capoccia, the head of BFC Partners, one of four firms collaborating on the redevelopment project. There are still six residents living in 400 Grand. Not long ago, they were given a tentative move-out date on June 30, although the city said that could probably be pushed back. The residents have been pushing for eventual relocation to the Essex Crossing project (an update on their situation is coming up later today). A shoe store and the LES Jewish Conservancy lease ground floor commercial space in the buildings.
Our initial story Wednesday afternoon indicated that the Buildings Department had approved demolition. Last night, Delancey Street Associates (DSA), the development team, released the following statement in response to that report:
We have not obtained a demolition permit. In keeping with our scheduled commitment to start construction in April 2015 we have been working on design along with all of the steps to close on construction financing, including demolition of the building. This is the the first step of a 6 to 12 month process, which is the opening of an application so that a means and methods plan can be reviewed. This is the mechanism by which DOB reviews and comments on the proposed process, staging, safety methods, etc. of demolishing the building. The means and methods plan is the first item of a 13 point checklist, which must be completed prior to the building owner getting a permit to demolish a building. It should be noted that DSA does not even own the building and therefore couldn’t get a demo permit (other requirements for this include utility terminations and a vacant building). To reiterate, the only reason the process was started is that it can take upwards of a year before a permit can be obtained. We regret that this has caused concern and will work to improve our communication.
Developers plan to build apartments, a grocery store, at least one school and a 15,000 square foot park on site 5.