HPD Moves Forward with ‘Haven Green’ Development Atop Elizabeth Street Garden

Posted on: November 16th, 2018 at 5:00 am by

JR’s mural to save the Elizabeth Street Garden

With the edict to remove statues from the park, the proverbial bulldozers are revving up the engines after the city decides to move forward with the redevelopment of the Elizabeth Street Garden.

This week, the Department of City Planning certified plans to proceed with the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) for the Haven Green “affordable” housing complex in the center of Little Italy. It apparently sailed through without much resistance.

As part of this protocol, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development released the 154-page Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS). Callista Nazair, Director of Environmental Planning at the agency, stated a so-called “Negative Declaration,” meaning that HPD believes this planned development atop the Elizabeth Street Garden (referred to as a “Commercial Sculpture Garden” not as a community-led garden) will have “no significant effect on the quality of the environment” and that an Environmental Impact Statement is not needed.

Photo: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

In other words, no additional environmental analysis/investigation is necessary regarding how Haven Green potentially impacts its surroundings. No mention about impacts on noise, air quality, or that the remaining minuscule open space will be covered in shadows.

(Conversely, a Positive Declaration would have automatically triggered an EIS which would take at least seven months to complete.)

Community Board 2 will hold a pair of yet-to-be-scheduled public hearings on the matter in December and January.

As previously reported, Haven Green is a seven-story affordable housing project for seniors co-developed by Pennrose Properties and Habitat NYC. Plans call for 123 apartments measuring roughly 400 square-feet each. There is also luxury ground floor retail, and 11,200 square-feet of below-market-rate office space reserved for Habitat NYC. However, regarding the latter, the EAS notes this space as a “Community Facility,” yet later contradicts the description as “commercial office space” with “39 employees.”

Furthermore, according to the aforementioned EAS, the proposed development would be constructed in a single phase and is expected to be completed and operational by 2021. Nevertheless, the Friends of the Elizabeth Street Garden advocacy group is lawyered up and prepared to fight the city. They’ve retained the legal services of land-use attorney Michael Gruen, while Elizabeth Street Garden, the garden’s managing organization since last year has Norman Siegel of Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, LLP. Both groups are coordinating efforts to save the garden.

And as a post-script, tax photos from the 1940s show the city-owned Elizabeth Street Garden site in its natural state, as a playground, a place to play basketball and stick ball…

Recent Stories

Clayton’s Corner: Overthrow the Wrong Way

In this installment of Clayton’s Corner, photographer Clayton Patterson shares news that the Overthrow boxing gym on Bleecker Street is back in action. Then, crosstown on Essex Street, two cops stopped for a quick slice. However, flouting traffic by driving the wrong way to park in front of Champion Pizza. This move seemed to irk […]

How COVID and a Bus Stop Chased Benson’s from Essex Street

The following guest post was penned by Boogie reader Sydney Fishman. For five years, Benson’s held down the corner of East Houston and Essex Streets with craft beers, sumptuous burgers, and the occasional movie night. The movie nights, according to owner Annie Morton, were the highlight of Benson’s tenure on the Lower East Side. Before […]

Next Phase of Market Line at Essex Crossing Now Visible

With scaffolding and other construction elements removed from The Artisan building at Essex Crossing, another part of the Market Line is coming into focus. Unlike the westernmost third of the Market Line, this section beneath 180 Broome Street feels less like a dungeon. Design elements, including massive grand staircase and full facade glass open the […]

14-Story Eldridge Street Hotel Hit with Stop Work Order

The hotel newcomer underway on lower Eldridge Street – recently topped out at fourteen stories – met the might of the city. Inspectors from Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on 79 Eldridge about a week ago. It’s a full order which only allows work “to provide shoring for all staircases and provide design […]

Eighteen Groups Sign Open Letter Demanding Transparency over CB3 Removal of Committee Chairs

Eighteen community groups within Community Board 3 on the Lower East Side this week co-signed an open letter to city and state officials urging inquiry into the removal of Alexandra Militano and Carolyn Ratcliffe as chairs of the SLA and Arts & Culture subcommittees, respectively. The shakeup, apparently inspired by a stated “new direction” for […]