If you’ve ever strolled around the Lower East Side, you may have noticed some gaping holes in the cityscape. In fact, the cluster of blocks around Delancy and Essex is the largest plot of city-owned and undeveloped land in all of Manhattan! Last year, we reported on the massive redevelopment ideas for this spot called the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), and things are finally moving along. Plans for the enormous space that has been known to many New Yorkers as an eyesore of parking lots for the last 40 years, will include hundreds of apartments, dozens of retailers, and a 10,000 square foot park.
The SPURA proposal has been solidified into three main ventures. First, developers want to build a 1.6 million square foot mixed-use area that will include 900 apartments and an abundance of retail space. Half of the apartments will be in the city’s affordable housing program for 60 years, and the other half will be market rate. Secondly, the proposal suggests moving the iconic Essex Street Market to the south side of Delancey Street to make room for another complex, including the third feature, a 10,000 square foot park on Broome street. The combined developments will also boast 500 underground parking spaces, clearing up an incredible amount of street space for the entire neighborhood.
Of course, no big New York City decision is made without a bit of debate. Communities and developers are currently discussing the possibility of all the new apartments being affordable while deciding whether the retail space will go to a ‘big box’ store or many small local businesses. The possibility of a new school within the redevelopment has also been brought to the table, but has been deemed unnecessary by public officials. Residents can voice their opinions before the next stages of development at the Town Hall meeting on April 18th.