Council set to review 1.65 million SF development on the Lower East Side

August 20, 2012 09:00AM

It’s looking increasingly likely that the Seward Park redevelopment planned for the Lower East Side will ditch the “long-stalled” modifier attached to it for the last 45 years. The Wall Street Journal reported that after decades of disagreement between developers, officials and activists, a project proposal will be brought to City Council Wednesday.

The compromise calls for 900 housing units, new retail space, office space and an expanded Essex Market on several city-owned lots on the south side of Delancey and Essex streets, just north of Seward Park. The community is ready to move forward with the 1.65 million-square-foot plan because it was able to cajole the city into including 450 affordable units in the project. By comparison, the Journal noted, affordable housing accounts for only 35 percent of the residences in the Willets Point development.

“There has been rampant gentrification, and so many people have been pushed out,” Harriet Cohen, chairwoman of the advocacy group Seward Park Area Revitalization Committee, told the Journal. “We want to make sure this community stays an integrated community.”

The plan, which has the tentative support of local Council member Margaret Chin, has been in the works since 1967 when the city demolished tenement buildings on the site as part of an urban renewal effort. The site now contains parking lots, vacant buildings and a former fire station. [WSJ] — Adam Fusfeld