City Seeks Developers for Seward Park Mixed-Use Project


After a decades-long stall in the plans for the Seward Park project in the Lower East Side, the city is seeking a developer (or developers) to build and operate what will eventually become an approximately 1.65-million-square-foot, mixed-use development.

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The Economic Development Corporation issued an RFP today for the development project that will take shape on the largest contiguous parcel of city-owned land in Manhattan south of 96th Street — a plot of land near the intersection of Delancey and Essex streets that the EDC called a “void in the urban fabric for 45 years.”

The RFP marks another historic milestone for the Lower East Side, said Seth Pinsky, president of EDC.

Credit: EDC
Credit: EDC

“The release of this RFP is the culmination of an unprecedented community planning process, and we look forward to receiving a robust set of proposals that will ultimately reintegrate these sites back into this vital community,” he said in a statement.

The city demolished tenement buildings on the plot of land in the late 1960’s, with several different plans dying after resistance from community groups, which left little more than a set of dreary parking lots to fill the void.

But in October, the City Council approved a deal forged by the city with community groups in the area to erect roughly 1,000 units of new housing, after it was determined that the units would be split evenly between market rate and affordable units.

The project allows for approximately 60 percent housing and 40 percent commercial space.  In addition, the project will include two major public amenities: a 15,000-square-foot open space and an expanded Essex Street Market.  Subsidies from the city’s Housing Preservation and Development or Housing Development Corporation will not be available for the development, though other benefits may be available, according to an EDC statement.

Proposals are due May 6 and a final decision is expected by the end of the year.