The Essex Crossing developers showed a Community Board 3 panel last week final renderings of a 15,000 square foot park that will be built on Broome Street. The public open space is part of the nearly two-million square foot residential and commercial complex that will begin rising on the former Seward Park urban renewal site next year.
The plans were presented by Claire Agre of West 8, a landscape architectural firm. She said the designs took into account feedback from community members during three CB3 Parks Committee meetings held earlier this year. The goal of the 15,000 square foot space situated between Suffolk Street and Clinton Street is to create an urban oasis, a quiet place with ample seating. There’s also a play area for small children. There will be wood-backed benches that, Agre said, have a rustic feel.
Many of the park’s design details and operations were spelled out as requirements of the developers in land use documents approved by the community board and the City Council. Those documents stated that the parcel is intended to ‘serve as a neighborhood open space, provide amenities to residents, workers and the general public.” The developers are responsible for building the park, as well as paying for its maintenance. While they will own the park, they are required to provide a “permanent access easement” to the city.
The park will be open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and will be lit at night, but there will be no fence surrounding the space. About one-third of the area will be green, while the remainder will be made up of hard surfaces. Agre said it isn’t possible to create more greenery due to concerns about shading during parts of the year and also maintenance issues. Earlier designs included an informational kiosk for neighborhood cultural events. It was eliminated to make more space for plantings, although Isaac Henderson, Essex Crossing’s project manager, suggested a kiosk could likely be constructed somewhere else within the complex.
A member of the development team said construction on the park would begin next summer. Previously, a spring groundbreaking was envisioned, but the timetable appears to be sliding by at least a few weeks.
In earlier meetings, developers promised to establish a community advisory board to help program the space. During last week’s meeting, members of CB3 asked them to set up the advisory board by the time construction of the park is 50% complete. They agreed. The commitment was detailed in the parks committee’s resolution approving the plans.