U.S. Markets closed

NYC announces major urban renewal project

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City on Wednesday announced plans for a residential, commercial and cultural complex on a large swath of undeveloped land on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Long known as the Seward Park Renewal Area project, the new Essex Crossing complex will be built on nine city-owned lots over a span of many years. It will include parks, a school, a community center providing early childhood and senior services, a rooftop urban farm, an Andy Warhol Museum, and 250,000-square-feet of office and retail space.

It also will have 1,000 rental units and condos, half offered at below market value. The Essex Street Market, an indoor market of about two dozen vendors selling produce, food and other items, will be expanded and projected to open in 2018. Other amenities include a bowling alley and movie theater.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the six-block complex also will serve as a hub for small-business incubation.

The city has wanted to redevelop the area by Delancey and Essex streets since 1967, when it began razing tenement buildings there once occupied by working-class immigrants.

It is the largest city-owned site below 96th Street.

"For decades, these lots have sat vacant and under-used despite repeated attempts by various mayors to redevelop sites," Bloomberg said in announcing the plan. "We struck a real partnership with community leaders, and that collaborative process has produced very rewarding results: an innovative, modern plan that complements the Lower East Side's history and traditions."

Taconi Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners, and BFC Partners were selected through a competition to develop the project, he said.

The city expects to break ground on the project in spring 2015. The first five buildings are expected to be finished by summer 2018. The city anticipates the entire complex will be finished by 2024.