In Controversial Move, City Files Plans to Demolish 70 Mulberry Street

Posted on: June 9th, 2020 at 5:12 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

While the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and mayor’s office continued an apparent charade of “community engagement” at Community Board 3, the city quietly filed plans with Department of Buildings to demolish the PS23 facility at 70 Mulberry Street.

Even though some Chinatown residents believe a full demolition would yield a swanky new building within two to three years, the billion-dollar economic toll from the novel coronavirus suggests otherwise.

And to that end, I had asked Councilwoman Margaret Chin at last month’s CB3 full board hearing whether the project for the site had been fully funded. She had no answer.

Photo: Department of Buildings

Given the fiscal crisis the city now faces from lost tax revenues due to the COVID-19 lockdown, can we realistically expect much capital expenditure in the coming years? It doesn’t seem so, as scarce funds would likely be diverted to infrastructure maintenance and repairs.

The current CB3 resolution calls for a halt to demolition once at the iconic stonework base, and for the city to allow an independent structural engineer experienced in restoration to assess the building. And to hopefully preserve as much of the remaining architectural elements as possible. But it would appear that DCAS has once again turned a deaf ear to the community.

Moving forward, I would think the fight should be to fully fund the restoration or reconstruction of 70 Mulberry Street into next year’s budget.

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