Government briefs: TRD’s monthly roundup of regulatory news

A rendering of Seward Park
A rendering of Seward Park

Top developers bid on 6-acre public parcel on LES

Some of the city’ top developers — among them Forest City Ratner, Related Companies, Taconic Investment Partners and AvalonBay Communities — have put in bids for the largest parcel of available public land in Manhattan below 96th Street, the Wall Street Journal reported. The 6-acre Seward Park site on the Lower East Side went on the auction block last month; the city expects to make a decision by fall and could award the contract to one developer or split the project among several bidders. A plan that the city OK’d last fall calls for the land to include housing, retail shops and offices as well as an expansion of Essex Market. The housing portion will include 1,000 housing units, half of which must be permanently affordable, and the retail shops will be smaller to keep out big-box stores.

Sandy-hit co-op owners denied federal aid

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Thousands of co-op owners who had their homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy cannot receive federal aid because the government classifies co-ops as businesses — not personal property, the New York Times reported. The law, known as the Stafford Act and enforced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also bars co-op boards from getting money to repair common areas. FEMA officials told the newspaper that they cannot help the owners unless Congress amends the law. Lawmakers promised to push for change but urged FEMA to act reasonably in the meantime. Nearly a fifth of the city’s housing units in the storm surge area were co-ops. At least 120 co-op buildings, with 13,000 apartments, sustained damage.

City seeks developer for LIC housing project

The city is gearing up for the second phase of its massive waterfront housing project in Queens just as the first phase is getting underway, Crain’s reported. Hunter’s Point South is a 30-acre waterfront site in Long Island City that will have as many as 5,000 units as well as parking, a park and shops. In May, the city asked developers to submit proposals for the second phase, which will include 1,000 new apartments — half for middle- and moderate-income families — along with 28,000 square feet of retail space and a ferry dock. Related Cos. is developing the first phase, which calls for 925 units, a new school and retail space. The second phase will be just south of the first on an 110,000-square-foot site along the East River between Borden and 54th avenues. Because of the project’s location, the city is insisting that developers adhere to the new Post-Sandy FEMA flood maps and design to the latest resiliency standards.