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Mayor's Office: New Development Will Revitalize Lower East Side

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans Wednesday to develop a large stretch of land on the Lower East Side into a new mixed-use development.

The 1.65 million square-foot Essex Crossing development will include residential, commercial and cultural space. The project will be constructed over several years on nine sites near the intersection of Essex and Delancey streets.

The development will include 1,000 units of housing – half of which will be offered below market value on a permanent basis for seniors and low-, moderate-, and middle-income households.

Also included will be a 15,000 square-foot pen space, a charter school operated by the Educational Alliance, and a community center run by Grand Street Settlement, a rooftop urban farm, an Andy Warhol museum, 250,000 square feet of office space, and an assortment of retail space, the Mayor's Office said.

The city hopes the complex will become a hub of small business development, with micro-retail spaces and creative and tech incubator spaces.

The development will further include an expanded Essex Street Market – an indoor market of about two dozen vendors selling produce, food and other items. The expanded market is projected to open in 2018.

Other amenities include a bowling alley and movie theater.

Long known as the Seward Park Renewal Area project, the city has wanted to redevelop the sites since 1967, when it began tearing down old tenement buildings that were occupied by working-class immigrants.

The Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project grew out of a collaboration between community leaders and elected officials, who have worked on the Essex Crossing plan for the past five years, the city said.

"This was a very long and open process. It involved some five years of study, discussion and deliberation. Many elected officials, including Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, played instrumental roles in that process," Bloomberg said.

The Essex Crossing site the largest city-owned plot of land 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."

Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners, and BFC Partners were selected through a competition to develop the project, he said. The development team will invest a total of $1.1 billion in the project.

Essex Crossing
The planned Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side. (Credit: Mayor's Office)

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.

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