Mayor Announces $170M Restoration Plan for Historic 70 Mulberry Street

Posted on: October 6th, 2021 at 5:06 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Some encouraging news for 70 Mulberry Street, a pillar of the Chinatown community destroyed by fire nearly two years ago.

Mayor de Blasio yesterday announced an additional $90 million in funding toward a plan to reconstruct the former PS23 public school building. The added capital brings the project total to $170 million. (Hizzoner allocated $80 million last year.)

In short, the plan will preserve and restore portions of the historic facade, construct two additional floors, and result in over 68,000 square-feet of space. All five community and cultural organizations that were displaced will be welcomed back as tenants.

Other restorative improvements to 70 Mulberry include a new multi-purpose room new that could serve as an auditorium and gym, as well as accessibility features including an elevator.

“70 Mulberry Street has been a beloved gathering place for the Chinatown community for generations,” the Mayor said. “These investments will ensure 70 Mulberry can continue to be a critical community space for generations to come.”

The plan is the result of a year-long visioning process that featured a community survey and a series of public forums and events (ending the fight for demolition and development of a 20-story tower).

Completion is slated for sometime in 2027.

“While this is welcome news I would remain cautiously optimistic until I see the shovels in the ground,” vociferous activist Karlin Chan tells us. “These past two years have been a rollercoaster ride for those in our community fighting to save the building from full demolition.”

Constructed in 1893 by architect CBJ Snyder, who was the Department of Education superintendent of buildings – it was the first large-scale public school in NYC and served as a prototype for the 700 schools he would design in a 31-year career with the city. The school served generations of immigrants in the heart of the historic Five Points neighborhood.

A five-alarm fire in January 2020 decimated this history.

Photo: FDNY

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