The whimsical, sculpture-filled park in the center of Nolita isn’t turning into a development site anytime soon. Yesterday, Community Board 2 chair Tobi Bergman confirmed that the city has withdrawn its request for funding to redevelop the Elizabeth Street Garden.
Last year, residents of the neighborhood, organized as Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden, began pushing back against council member Margaret Chin’s plan to build affordable housing on the garden site, between Mott and Elizabeth streets.
And as The Real Deal originally reported, the $50 million that Lend Lease agreed to pay as a settlement over a lawsuit with the troubled Deutsche Bank Building will be used by city and state officials to fund 14 Lower Manhattan projects. The Housing Preservation Corporation had applied for $5 million to construct affordable housing on the site of the community garden, according to Curbed.
However, yesterday’s announcement revealed that the HPD’s application was not included not among the 14 recipients of the settlement money.
“This decision reflects the strength of community support for the garden,” Bergman said. “This same support will eventually lead to failure of any ongoing effort to develop housing there. If HPD decides to pursue a Request for Proposals for the Elizabeth Street site, it will waste its own resources and those of developers who may respond to the RFP without understanding the costs of the fight they will be investing in.”
Still, the garden isn’t safe for good. The HPD has suggested that it would issue an RFP in the spring. [Curbed] –Christopher Cameron