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City Council Unanimously Approves SPURA Plan
As expected, the SPURA re-development plan sailed through City Council with unanimity. The decision comes just a couple weeks after the Land-Use subcommittee approval, and is more than forty-five years in the making. 1.65 million square-feet of space for the taking. Let the gold rush begin!
Just a few bullet points regarding the plans, some of which we’ve previously mentioned in these pages:
- More affordable housing – 100 new units were added to the plan, half are earmarked as affordable. This brings the total housing unit count to 1,000.
- Public school – the city will reserve 15,000 square-feet of Site 5 for a potential public school.
- Offsite affordable housing – the city will commit to additional affordable housing at 21 Spring Street.
- The displaced – former tenants of the SPURA area before its demolition will receive priority.
- Essex Street Market – it will remain a public amenity. If it does indeed move, vendors will be given first opportunity for comparable square-footage. Rent schedules and planned increases in any new facility for existing vendors will be commensurate with their rent at the time of the move. There’s still a possibility of ESM staying put.
- Local hiring – the goal is to fill 50% of all new permanent jobs from the local population who are making below 200% of the poverty level. They hope to retain 40% of these hires for at least nine months.
- Retail Diversity – stringent requirement to enforce retail diversity.
“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the long history of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area,” Council Member Stephen Levin said. “Thanks to the diligent work of Speaker Quinn, Councilmember Chin, the Community Board members, and everyone who spent countless hours to craft this proposal, residents of the Lower East Side will finally have access to affordable housing, needed commercial and retail space, and usable open space at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge,” said Councilmember Levin. “While it took many years to get to this point, the high level of community involvement and the willingness of all parties to maintain a constructive dialogue is a model that we can all look to as our city continues to evolve.”