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Future of the LES Includes 25-Story Towers, Chain Stores

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There's still a good two years before SPURA, the largest city-owned swath of undeveloped parking lots this side of the Mississippi, has a final plan in place. But after 40 years of class warfare, Lower East Siders finally agreed to some guidelines. Surely that's something to get excited about, and the architecture firm hired by the city to study the site (mostly along Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge) is giving the neighborhood something to chew on. At a community board meeting this week, Beyer Blinder Belle's Neil Kittredge gave a presentation about the firm's preliminary thoughts about this new mini-neighborhood within the LES. The Villager has a summary:

Kittredge said building heights on all 10 parcels would vary from six to 25 stories. The urban designer said there would be a mix of mid-rise buildings and high-rises, an underground parking garage to enhance the pedestrian experience and a design that would “maximize light and air.” He added that the current city-operated indoor parking facility on Essex St. near Delancey St. would not be affected. In his slide show presentation, the urban designer outlined his vision of the new community. It showed sketches of streets filled with outdoor cafes and stores. He said smaller shops would be located on side streets, while Delancey and Essex Sts. would house stores run by larger retailers and chains. He said there would also be some second-story retail stores along Delancey and Essex.Paging Wal-Mart?
· SPURA design will try to 'maximize light and air' [The Villager]