Over 40 years after many Lower East Side homes were bulldozed at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge in the name of urban renewal, community representatives have finally agreed on a plan to replace them. Last night a Community Board 3 subcommittee voted 20-1 to approve development guidelines for SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, which has mostly been used as surface parking lots since the '60s. Curbed readers need no introduction to SPURA, which has suffered through countless stops and starts over the years. One of the hottest topics in this latest three-year negotiation cycle was affordable housing: Some think there's not enough, while others (mainly Co-op Village residents worried about property values) think there's too much. Just before the vote was taken, The Lo-Down writes, the SPURA panel's facilitator "noted that 'everyone is equally unhappy,' which he took as a good sign." Now that all the kvetching cancels itself out, what's next for SPURA?
The guidelines, which now call for around 1,000 rental units (50% reserved for low- and middle-income tenants and senior citizens), "midbox" retail (sorry, Walmart!) and maybe even a new Essex Street Retail Market, must now be approved by the full CB3, which votes tonight. Things are looking good, as the proposal has picked up the endorsement of powerful Assembly Speaker and local-boy-made-good Sheldon Silver, who has traditionally steered clear of this class war. If the full board approves the guidelines, then it's on to the city's review, which could change things around and result in even more negotiations. It's been 40 years, so what's a few more?
· CB3 Committee Makes History, Votes to Redevelop SPURA [The Lo-Down]
· SPURA Development Guidlines Passed Last Night [Bowery Boogie]
· SPURA coverage [Curbed]