East Side redevelopment gets board backing

January 26, 2011 10:18AM

A map of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area

Community Board 3 voted overwhelmingly last night in favor of proposed guidelines for the development of five Lower East Side parcels known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or SPURA. The sites, long vacant and the subject of local debate, are now one significant step closer to a transformation into around 1,000 units of housing, half of which would be affordable, plus retail, parks and a possible school. Fourteen tenement buildings originally stood there, before the city ousted 2,000 residents and tore them down in 1967 to redevelop and revitalize the area. But disputes over the future of the area had since crippled any plans from moving forward until 2008, when a rezoning of the Lower East Side brought the issue back into the spotlight. The full CB3 vote last night followed a similarly favorable one by one of its subcommittees Monday night. Now, the plan will head to several city agencies before a final City Council vote, which could be at least a year and a half away. [NYT]