What Will Replace the Lost Buildings on the 2nd Avenue Explosion Site?

Posted on: April 1st, 2015 at 10:16 am by

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Photo: Reuters

Too soon?

Yes. It’s shitty, but one of the common utterances we heard from people in the immediate aftermath of the explosion on Second Avenue last week was regarding the property itself. Real estate speculation; that developers were probably foaming at the mouth with the soon-to-be-available corner parcel. A spot in what many consider the “heart” of the East Village. Many out there might have had the same internal thought process.

Nevertheless, preservationists are seizing the moment.

In a mailer yesterday, the GVSHP is clearly on the offensive to ensure that any new construction here is “harmonious with the context of the East Village.” Two points are raised.

  1. The contextual rezoning we and many others helped secure for the East Village in 2008 limits any new construction on this site to 65 feet in height at the streetwall, with a maximum total height of 80 feet after a setback. However, if the city’s planned contextual zoning changes are adopted as currently proposed, the maximum allowable height for new development here would go up to 105 feet.
  2. These sites are also in the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District we helped get designated in 2012, and so nothing can be built here without approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and a determination that the size, scale, and design of a proposed replacement is “appropriate” for the site, its surroundings, and the historic district. This public review and approval process would require public hearings at the local Community Board and the LPC.

Any talk of the sort is premature, though, given the extent of the devastation.

Meanwhile, there are still several ways to help those affected by the disaster. Check this list. Also, the easiest action would be to patronize the businesses nearby that remain open.

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