Mayor Bloomberg Announces Request For Proposals To Study Development Of 'seaport City' To Protect Lower Manhattan From Impacts Of Climate Change

July 31, 2013

Resiliency Project First Recommended in "A Stronger, More Resilient New York" - Would Also Boost Economic Development

Rendering of Seaport City Concept Available on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycmayorsoffice/

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a request for proposals (RFP) to study the potential development of ‘Seaport City,’ a resiliency project that will protect Lower Manhattan from coastal flooding and provide opportunities for economic development. Seaport City was first proposed by Mayor Bloomberg as part of “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” – the ambitious and achievable blueprint to make New York City more resilient to the effects of climate change. Seaport City would be built as a part of a multi-purpose levee to protect a 1.5-mile area along the eastern edge of Lower Manhattan from the Battery to just north of the Manhattan Bridge. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued the RFP to advance the next stages of technical planning for the levee system and related development of Seaport City. Responses are due by Thursday, August 22, 2013.

“Battery Park City helped shield part of Lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy and Seaport City can provide similar protection, while also expanding opportunities for new economic development,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The resiliency plans we released last month continue to move forward, and this study will enable the City to evaluate an ambitious new idea for protecting vulnerable neighborhoods and making communities more vibrant.”

“Today we are taking another important step forward towards realizing a critical piece of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to make the City less vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “Seaport City presents a landmark opportunity not only to protect Lower Manhattan’s neighborhoods and infrastructure, but also to spur economic development and potentially to generate revenues to pay for this and other resiliency measures. We look forward to receiving the results of this important study.”

“We’re excited to launch the feasibility study of this bold, visionary project,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of Resiliency. “This RFP is the vital first step in answering the key technical, environmental and financial questions surrounding this resiliency project. The risks to our city from climate change are serious and significant and we must address those risks in a serious and significant way –this is a major step in thinking through how we do that.  We look forward to working with all stakeholders through this process and we anticipate learning a great deal about how to best advance this part of our resiliency agenda.”

“Hurricane Sandy taught us how important it is to plan for the future – the recommendations put forth in ‘A Stronger, More Resilient New York’ are a great place to start,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron.  “We must be better prepared for the next storm and for the overall effects of climate change and a comprehensive plan to rebuild our communities is key. I commend the Mayor for assessing long term resiliency efforts.”

The study will provide a comprehensive assessment that considers all the relevant aspects needed to develop a multi-purpose levee at Seaport City, including technical, financial and legal feasibility. The selected consultant team is expected to evaluate specific factors such as the technical and physical configuration of the levee, infrastructure requirements, environmental issues, legal issues, costs, and implementation strategies. The consultant team will be required to identify and evaluate options for developing the levee and put forward a recommended option at the end of the study. This RFP provides respondents with the opportunity to suggest visionary environmental engineering and coastal protection plans for a critical location in Lower Manhattan. In addition, the selected consultant will be required to study fill, platform and no-build options. NYCEDC plans to select a consultant based on experience of key staff identified in the proposals, experience and quality of any subcontractors proposed, demonstrated successful experience in performing services similar to those encompassed in the RFP, and the proposed cost to conduct the study. 

Lower Manhattan is a major hub of commercial activity for the region and contains vital infrastructure. The area has more than 130 million square feet of commercial space, attracting 165,000 workers to the area on daily. The residential population has also grown rapidly, doubling in the last decade to about 45,800 residents.  Lower Manhattan serves as a major destination for visitors, with more than 4,100 hotel rooms, significant retailers and many historic and cultural attractions.  Despite significant infrastructure investment in the area over the past decade, Hurricane Sandy showed that Lower Manhattan is extremely vulnerable to flooding due to storm surge, sea level rise or other causes. The risks are expected to increase as the climate continues to change.  In June 2013, the New York City Panel on Climate Change released an updated analysis that predicts that sea levels could rise by more than two and a half feet by the 2050s, making coastal flooding even more severe.  These projections were used to develop the recommendations contained in “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” which call for a comprehensive solution for flood protection in Lower Manhattan, which the proposed multi-purpose levee would address.

Multi-purpose levees can provide a cost-effective mechanism to pay for coastal protection by creating land for development that is also elevated and therefore not at risk of flooding.  A multi-purpose levee in the study area would not only act as a barrier to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding in the event of storm events such as Hurricane Sandy, but it would also function as the foundation of a possible new Lower Manhattan sub-district that includes storm-resilient infrastructure and creates economic development opportunities in the area by supporting residential, retail or commercial uses, providing open space, serving as transportation infrastructure, and/or providing parking.

This project has Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) participation goals and all respondents will be required to submit an M/WBE Sub-Contractors Participation Plan with their response. NYCEDC also established the Kick Start Loan programs for Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (M/W/DBE) interested in working on NYCEDC construction projects. Kick Start Loans facilitates financing for short-term mobilization needs such as insurance, labor, supplies and equipment. Bidders/subcontractors are strongly encouraged to visit the NYCEDC website at www.nycedc.com/opportunitymwdbe to learn more about the program.

An optional pre-proposal session will be held on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM at NYCEDC’s office at 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038. Additional information, including detailed submission guidelines and requirements are outlined in the RFP, available at www.nycedc.com/rfp.  Responses are due no later than 12:00 PM on Thursday, August 22, 2013.

Marc La Vorgna / Lauren Passalacqua

(212) 788-2958
Patrick Muncie (NYCEDC)

(212) 312-3523