Community Board 3 Discusses SPURA

Posted on: October 15th, 2010 at 9:30 am by

Community Board 3 and city officials held another informational meeting last night at the Educational Alliance’s Mazer Theater to update residents on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), the undeveloped land located near the Williamsburg Bridge.  Officials from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development were on hand to give presentations about the SPURA process and answer questions residents might have in their ongoing development efforts.

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CB3’S Land Use, Zoning, Public and Private Housing Committee are trying to move ahead with the SPURA development process.  In addition to the city-owned five parcels of land that remain, the city has offered to add an additional five parcels of land.  This land includes the Department of Transportation parking lot and the Essex Street Market buildings, which houses up to 30 vendors and is a valuable amenity to many residents in the neighborhood.

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This administration is trying to do what many mayoral administrations have failed to do in the past – develop the land.  In March the city retained John Shapiro, a professional planner, to work with the community on the planning process.  City officials concede some infrastructure problems, such as a loss of parking, and improvements, like sewer upgrades will arise.

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Joel Kaplan, Executive Director of the United Jewish Council and CB3 member said “there is a myth that nothing happened on this property.  There were several residential properties built on SPURA.  Guild Housing with 600 units, the Orenstein Building has 128 units and Seward Park Extension has 328.  Rite Aid is the only commercial property on SPURA.”  Kaplan went on to add that “CB3 has the second highest number of low-income units in the city.”

The next CB3 meeting on the issue will be held next Wednesday October 20 at P.S. 124 located at 40 Division Street, between Market Street and the Bowery.

Written by Andrew Cohen

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