After 40 years of negotiations, one would think that the news of a preliminary agreement on how to develop the Lower East Side's SPURA would be greeted with blaring trumpets and a presentation of virgins. But the post-agreement Seward Park Urban Renewal Area is shaping up to be filled with just as many concerns as the pre-agreement one. Already critics are questioning whether the affordable housing built on the parking lots at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge will be truly affordable. Now, an online petition is circling asking that the Essex Street Market be left out of this mess.
The historic city-run market was a late addition to SPURA, and if it were to be demolished to make way for whatever gets built, the draft guidelines call for the market to be relocated within the neighborhood, with an effort made to retain the tenants. But according to the Lower East Sider behind Save the Essex Street Market, that's not enough. The website calls for the preservation of the market in its current cramped digs because of the historic connection to the site and the lack of a guarantee that the current tenants can survive a move. Here's the petition. A formal SPURA plan isn't expected until the end of 2012, so this fledgling controversy has plenty of time to simmer.
· Save the Essex Street Market [savetheessexstreetmarket.org]
· Essex Street Market [Official Site]
· SPURA coverage [Curbed]