Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled plans that will transform the largest stretch of undeveloped City-owned land in Manhattan below 96th Street into mixed-use space.
Nine sites located near the intersection of Essex Street and Delancey Street will become a 1.65-million-square-foot development anchored by 1,000 units of housing, half of which will be permanently affordable for low-, moderate-, and middle-income households and senior citizens.
In addition, the project, to be called Essex Crossing, includes a 15,000 s/f open space, a new and expanded Essex Street Market, a dual-generation school operated by the Educational Alliance, a community center run by Grand Street Settlement, a rooftop urban farm, the Andy Warhol Museum, 250,000 s/f of office space and a mix of retail space.
Seward Park will also become a hub of small-business incubation, with micro-retail spaces and creative and tech co-working and incubator space.
The project represents $1.1 billion dollars of investment by Delancey Street Associates LLC, a joint venture comprised of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners, and will create approximately 1,600 permanent jobs and 4,400 construction jobs.
Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at a former public market building south of Delancey – the site of the new, expanded Essex Street Market – and was joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Council Member Margaret Chin, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball, Housing Development Corporation President Marc Jahr, Chairperson of Community Board 3 Gigi Li, L+M Development Partners CEO Ron Moelis, BFC Partners President Donald Capoccia, Taconic Investment Partners Co-CEOs Charles Bendit and Paul Pariser and Margarita Rosa, executive director of Grand Street Settlement.
“For decades, these lots have sat vacant and under-used – despite repeated attempts by various mayors to redevelop sites,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Now, that wait is finally over. Just as we’ve done across the city, we are taking a long-neglected area and creating new housing, new open space, and new jobs. We struck a real partnership with community leaders, and that collaborative process has produced very rewarding results: an innovative, modern plan that complements the Lower East Side’s history and traditions.”
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to take what was one of the most underutilized areas of Manhattan and transform it into a diverse, exciting, mixed-use community for all New Yorkers,” said the principals of Delancey Street Associates. “We came together because we knew that this project would require a team that understands the need for community involvement, knows how to prioritize affordable housing and can generate exciting retail and commercial development. We are looking forward to delivering all this and more to New York City.”
The Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project grew out of a collaboration between community stakeholders, grassroots local leadership and elected officials, working together in partnership with the City for the past five years to develop the framework for the plan.
Monthly meetings were led for years by the Community Board, in co-ordination with a team of representatives from the Bloomberg Administration. More recently, the level of community involvement in the RFP process has been unprecedented. The City has met regularly with a Task Force designated by the Community Board, and included their priorities for the project in the RFP jointly issued in January 2013 by the Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Respondents to the RFP were required to specifically address the community criteria in their proposals, which were formally part of the selection criteria.
Going forward, the Task Force will meet quarterly with the development team, and will be consulted on key project aspects throughout pre-development and construction.
The development team was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals that drew a robust response from the development and design sector. The development team will purchase the properties for $180 million, investing a total of $1.1 billion in the overall project. The development team is working with the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group as its lead financial partner.
The project’s affordable units will be targeted to New Yorkers, including senior citizens, with household incomes ranging on average from $31,700 to $133,000 per year for a family of four.
Entertainment amenities at Seward Park include a bowling alley and movie theater. A site has also been reserved for a public school, which may be developed in the future by the School Construction Authority. The developers will also upgrade the existing DOT plazas on Delancey Street.
The Essex Street Market will relocate across Delancey Street, doubling in size to approximately 30,000 s/f on the ground floor, plus a mezzanine of roughly 7,000 s/f. The new market, anticipated to open in 2018, will accommodate all the existing market vendors at the time of the move and provide room for new vendors in a range of sizes.
The project will include an extensive assortment of retail and commercial uses, including the unique space to be known as the Market Line, on a concourse created through vaulted archways from the second floor through the cellar of the three sites south of Delancey between Essex and Clinton Streets.
The natural light-filled, continuous Market Line will include a variety of spaces, consisting of small- to medium-sized vendor stalls with tenants that include retail and food-oriented uses, a culinary incubator and a center dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurs to learn craft skills and produce and sell hand-made merchandise.
In addition, approximately 40 micro-retail spaces will be developed in the Market Line. The project also includes a large grocery store. Other than the grocery store, movie theater and fitness center, no retail space will be larger than 30,000 s/f.
As the project is located along the F train corridor, which continues to grow as a tech corridor, connecting downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, the Lower East Side and the new Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, the 250,000 s/f of office space will be able to capitalize on growing innovative markets. The new office workers will bring daytime traffic to the neighborhood, supporting local businesses throughout the day.
“I am delighted that the city is moving forward with plans for the Seward Park development,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “This is a sensible, balanced and exciting project that will give the Lower East Side more permanent affordable housing, a community center, a rooftop urban farm, a school, a business incubator, much-needed open space and so much more. It will transform the community in a really positive way.”
The anticipated groundbreaking for the project is spring 2015. The first five buildings (all of the sites south of Delancey except the two adjacent sites between Norfolk and Clinton Streets) consisting of 580 units of housing, including 316 permanently affordable units, are anticipated to be completed by Summer 2018.
The next two buildings (the remaining parcels south of Delancey, and the parcel located just north of Rivington Street on Essex Street), including the majority of the remaining housing, are anticipated to be completed by summer 2021, and the final two buildings (the remaining parcels north of Delancey Street) are anticipated to be completed by 2022 and 2024.
Delancey Street Associates LLC (DSA) is comprised of affordable housing developers L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners. The Prusik Group will co-develop the retail portion of the project. Senior housing developers B&B Supportive Housing will co-develop the senior building. DSA will work with local community partners Grand Street Settlement and Educational Alliance on the community center and dual-generation school, respectively. SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle will be the primary architects on the Seward Park Project.
Five of the sites included in the RFP were acquired as part of a 1965 federal urban renewal plan that called for commercial and housing development, with demolition of the sites beginning in 1967. While portions of the plan were implemented, five sites remained undeveloped and have been used largely for surface parking.
Several attempts were made to develop the sites over the years, but proposals ultimately failed to move forward due to lack of consensus on the best use of the sites. The original Seward Park Extension Urban Renewal Plan expired in 2005, 40 years after its adoption. Additional City-owned sites in the vicinity incorporated into the new plan include the Essex Street Market and related market buildings resulting in a total of approximately six acres for the current redevelopment.