Elizabeth Street Garden Advocates Bury the Hatchet, Ramp up Opposition to Redevelopment

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 at 5:00 am by

Advocates for the endangered Elizabeth Street Garden are rallying the troops for another round of battle to ward off certain redevelopment of the Little Italy lot.

But first, a truce between the warring factions of the garden.

The two nonprofit groups committed to saving the namesake green space – Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden and Elizabeth Street Garden – buried the proverbial hatchet this week to focus on coordinating legal efforts to stop an affordable housing project on the open-air parcel.

“As the City moves forward with plans to develop on the only public green space in Little Italy and SoHo, the community will take whatever necessary steps, including litigation, to preserve Elizabeth Street Garden in its entirety, for generations to come,” the joint statement reads.

Photo: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

Friends has retained the legal services of Michael Gruen, President of the City Club; ESG has retained Norman Siegel of Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, LLP.

The proposed building, as previously reported, will rise seven stories and carry 121 permanently affordable apartments for seniors. And as if to placate aggrieved locals, the plan also calls for the inclusion of 7,600 square-feet of publicly-accessible garden space. Significantly less than what’s there now. Department of Housing Preservation and Development awarded the contract to Penrose Development.

Opposition has long maintained that a site on the west side (388 Hudson Street) is better suited to affordable housing:

The City has plans to destroy the Garden for an affordable housing development, ignoring our community’s need for public green open space, tremendous local support for saving the Garden and an alternative site on a vacant city-owned lot at 388 Hudson St. — where up to five times as much senior housing and a 10,000-square-foot-park can be built without destroying treasured public green open space.  ESG and Friends recognize that these two critical city objectives should not be pitted against one another, especially when we can achieve both.

Community Board 2 will host the developer later this month (June 25) in an open forum at 32 Waverly Place.

Photo: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

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