SPURA is one of the many adopted acronyms used to describe New York City’s division of neighborhoods. But unlike SOHO, NOHO, or Tribeca, SPURA is actually the name of a development site in Lower Manhattan, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, to be exact. The history of the site is a story of politics, economics and social pressures. After fifty years of debates between community leaders, activists and designers, the City Planning Commission has given a proposed development plan the green light. That means that following a land-use review process called ULURP, a city council vote and the Mayor Bloomberg’s final approval, the site may finally transition from a street level parking lot into a mixed-use development full of retail stores, offices, community facilities, a new Essex Street market, a hotel, a park and 900 apartments that will occupy 1.65-million-square-feet.
Join us after the break to read more on the development and to see other alternative creative proposals that this site has inspired over the years.
Manhattan Mountain, by Ju-Hyun Kim, is a design speculation over five of the most debated plots of vacant land in New York City. Collectively known as SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, the five parking lots on the Lower East Side, just South of Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge, were once the site of tenement housing until they were acquired by the Urban Renewal Plan in 1965 and demolished. Since then, the other lots that suffered a simular fate and have been developed into various iterations of low-income and mixed-use housing developments. But, for nearly 50 years these five sites have remained vacant as a continued debate rattles the community boards. As the debate rages on between low-income housing developments, mixed low-income and commercial housing, and strictly commercial housing, these five lots serve as parking. This is the largest undeveloped city-owned development south of 96th street.
Ju-Hyun Kim’s speculative proposal serves as an alternative to the current state of the land. Read on after the break.