Could a new neighborhood be coming to NYC? Seaport City, an idea for a man-made parcel of land on the east side of Manhattan that would also double as a storm surge protector, was first introduced to New Yorkers in June as part of NYC’s “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” plan to protect against future climate change-related disasters. But, buried towards the back of the 397-page report, the proposal wasn’t exactly an attention-grabber, so many people missed it the first time around. And for those who did catch it, the idea of adding a whole new mini city to New York (although it wouldn’t be the first time) may have just seemed too pie in the sky to take seriously. If you were one of the latter, you may be surprised to find out that yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced a request for proposals to explore how Seaport City could be designed to both protect the shoreline during future storms and also boost the city economically by adding new residences, jobs and businesses. Responses to the RFP are due on Thursday, August 22, 2013.
The main idea behind Seaport City is that it would be a new area of Manhattan built atop a multi-purpose levee designed to protect NYC from flooding caused by rising tides and Hurricane Sandy-like events. The new nabe would be built along the east side of Manhattan from the Battery Maritime Building to Pier 35, but since erecting a whole new area is not cheap, the city is also hoping thatt he project could be self-financing. “This approach would provide the protective value of a traditional levee while also providing new land on which commercial and residential buildings could be constructed, both to accommodate the City’s growth and to help finance the construction of the multi-purpose levee,” reads the section on Seaport City in “A Stronger, More Resilient New York”. The report also likened Seaport City to Battery Park City, which is an example of a successful man-made neighborhood in NYC.
“Battery Park City helped shield part of Lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy and Seaport City can provide similar protection, while also expanding opportunities for new economic development,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The resiliency plans we released last month continue to move forward, and this study will enable the City to evaluate an ambitious new idea for protecting vulnerable neighborhoods and making communities more vibrant.”
The RFP asks consultants to come up with a full assessment that takes into consideration the technical, financial and legal aspects and feasibility of building Seaport City. “We’re excited to launch the feasibility study of this bold, visionary project,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of Resiliency. “This RFP is the vital first step in answering the key technical, environmental and financial questions surrounding this resiliency project. The risks to our city from climate change are serious and significant and we must address those risks in a serious and significant way –this is a major step in thinking through how we do that. We look forward to working with all stakeholders through this process and we anticipate learning a great deal about how to best advance this part of our resiliency agenda.”
If you’re interested in submitting a proposal, there will be an optional pre-proposal session on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM at the NYCEDC office at 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038. For more information and submission guidelines, click here. The deadline for responses to the RFP is 12:00 PM on Thursday, August 22, 2013.