The city has tapped L&M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic Investment Partners and Grand Street Settlement to develop the hotly contested Lower East Side parcel known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The developers will pay the city $180 million for the right to build, and construction is slated to kick off within 18 months.
The development includes retail space, office space, parks and 1,000 apartments, half of which will be affordable.
The project, Deputy Mayor Robert Steel told the New York Times, “has all the hallmarks of a Bloomberg administration project: transforming an underutilized asset into a place that serves the diverse needs of the community.”
Ron Moelis, chairman of L&M, told the newspaper that the site was large enough “that we can create a community that has all the aspects of what one wants in a neighborhood: a mix of housing, retail, entertainment, food, job training and office space that will serve both low income people who live there and newcomers to the area.”
This time around, the Seward Park site was of interest to several big-name city developers such as Forest City Ratner, the Related Companies and Douglaston Development. Over the years, the area has been slated for several development projects, but tussles with housing advocates and residents of nearby co-op apartments didn’t allow them to come to fruition.
“It was an exercise in frustration,” developer Richard LeFrak, who was twice tapped to rebuild Seward Park but was unable to move forward, told the newspaper. “You had the collision between the Jewish community in the Grant Houses and the Latino and Asian communities.” [NYT] – Hiten Samtani