CB3 Remains Skeptical Over EDC Selection Process for Lowline Site

Posted on: January 14th, 2016 at 5:18 am by

lowline-lab-5_wm

It’s clear that Community Board 3 is not too keen on the Lowline anymore. One need only observe the current process to procure design ideas via an official “Request for Expression of Interest” by the Economic Development Corporation for the 60,000 square-foot abandoned trolley terminal. Despite previous endorsements, the advisory body does not like the lack of time for entrants other than the Lowline, nor being left on the sidelines without a say. This much was made apparent in December.

And again last night. The EDC returned to provide updates – namely that the submission deadline was extended to February 1 and that there is an open site visit tomorrow – and to reassure locals that they want to activate the site with a project that will “enhance the connection to the community.” But EDC PR guru Lusheena Warner was skewered anew. The committee remained cautious of the overall process, and seemed particularly offended that they were nonchalantly asked to give on-the-spot ideas for the space, and that EDC wasn’t working hand-in-glove like other local projects (e.g. SPURA/Essex Crossing).

The primary concern was that the city could immediately advance from the RFEI stage without proceeding with the formal RFP selection process that would allow CB3 input. That stoked other fears about city-owned land being exploited for private gain. What happened with Basketball City was the example floated as cautionary tale.

On a related note, member Enrique Cruz expressed further fears about the potential for “commercial” entities sub-leasing chunks of the space that is not of or for the community. For example, chain stores linked to create an underground “shopping mall.” Cruz hopes that local businesses will have first crack at any such openings.

As for timeline, the only scheduled milestone is the February 1 submission deadline. It’s all up in the air after that. EDC will then review the ideas collected, return to CB3 (probably springtime) to discuss these potential projects, and eventually make a decision.

lowline-lab-8_wm

The panel spent an eternity deliberating on whether and how to craft the resolution. In the end, a motion was made, and voted on for the following:

  • The committee wasn’t ready to provide a list of feasible community priorities for the trolley terminal last night.
  • That EDC return to CB3 in order to discuss specifics of submissions.
  • That CB3 work with EDC to begin a community engagement process (visioning sessions, workshops) to brainstorm alternative uses that can help inform the eventual selection process.

In addition, Chair Gigi Li will send some sort of letter to EDC to further memorialize the position.

So, yes. Lots of protocol. This is all probably a moot discussion, anyway. The Lowline is furlongs (i.e. four years) ahead of any competitive submissions. In fact, this whole ordeal is happening precisely to make it easier for their approval. You watch…

Recent Stories

‘Marm Cafe’ on Clinton Street is Kaput, Transitions to ‘Bricia’

The end of the road is here for Marm Cafe. The three-year-old corner establishment at 79 Clinton Street hasn’t been open since at least mid-August, its fate finally sealed this week with those brown paper shades. We communicated with ownership via email several weeks ago and were told that the cafe was actually on holiday. […]

Celebrity Endorsed ‘Sycamore Style’ to Open Orchard Street Footwear Boutique

The search for a new retail occupant at 145 Orchard Street just came to a close. It’s been four months since Killion departed the block, but now signage is in place for the latest entrant. Another fashion boutique. Here comes Sycamore Style, a decades-old footwear brand that hawks “custom hand-dyed shoes.” According to their website, […]

In Move from Midtown, ‘Ierimonti Gallery’ Readies 55 Delancey Showroom

After Brennan & Griffin Gallery relocated to Norfolk Street last year, its former headquarters on Delancey Street remained vacant. The only action during its year-long dormancy was when Petee’s Pie used the space for its busy Thanksgiving rush last November. But now, more of the same is on the way. An art gallery from midtown […]

Judge Grants Notorious Landlord Steve Croman Reprieve for High Holidays, Postpones Sentencing

Convicted landlord Steve Croman will spend the Jewish High Holidays in the comfort of his own home instead of prison. At his hearing yesterday, Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser elected to postpone the sentencing another two weeks for the observance. Prosecutors on behalf of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opposed the motion, but […]

With Final Votes Counted, Margaret Chin Squeaks by Marte for Third Term

The Board of Elections yesterday completed its final tally of absentee and affidavit ballots, and the results are in. Incumbent Councilwoman Margaret Chin maintained her narrow margin over challenger Christopher Marte by just over 200 votes. So, it’ll likely be another four years of the same. The results should be certified by the city at […]