The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on behalf of the City of New York is proposing a series of land use actions to activate a city-owned site along the Harlem River waterfront, referred to as the Lower Concourse North site or the “project site,” with new affordable and market-rate housing, commercial and community facility uses, and public open space (the “proposed project”). The project site consists of Block 2356, Lots 2 and 72; Block 2539, Lot 1 and portions of Lots 2 and 3; and the demapped portion of the former East 150th Street between Exterior Street and the Harlem River. The project site is bounded by Mill Pond Park to the north, Exterior Street and the elevated Major Deegan Expressway to the east, East 149th Street to the south, and the Harlem River to the west. The project site is entirely vacant and currently under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), but is not mapped as or considered to be parkland.
While the proposed actions have been defined, the development program and some design specifics under those actions are dependent on the RFEI responses. In order to address the potential range of responses, the EIS analyzes a generic Reasonable Worst-Case Development Scenario (RWCDS) that considers the worst-case development potential for environmental effects in each technical area. Thus, pursuant to City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), a generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) will be prepared.
For the purposes of presenting a conservative analysis, the RWCDS anticipates that the project site would be redeveloped with up to 1,045 residential dwelling units, comprising a total residential floor area of 835,937 gross square feet (gsf); 50,000 gross square feet gsf of retail space; 25,000 gsf of food store space; 25,000 gsf of medical office space; and 50,000 gsf of office space. The Lower Concourse North project will be assumed to have a range of affordability from a minimum of MIH requirements, up to 100 percent affordable. Retail would be located at the ground floor along Exterior Street, approximately 25,000 gsf would be local retail space and approximately 25,000 gsf would be destination retail space. Roughly three acres of open space comprising waterfront open space, an extension of Mill Pond Park, and a new plaza fronting along Exterior Street would be created as part of the proposed project. The build year for the proposed project is 2023.
It is anticipated that the proposed Lower Concourse North project will require approval of several discretionary city actions, including the following:
It is assumed that the City of New York would design and construct the required waterfront open space at a future date per a design that would be completed in coordination with a specific development plan for the site. As such, the Chairperson of the CPC would certify at a later date that the proposed project complies with requirements for public access and visual corridors, in this case, as modified by Harlem River Waterfront Access Plan. The City would retain ownership of the waterfront open space. Finally, the proposed project would also require waterfront approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers for removal and replacement of the existing riprap shoreline and relieving platform that runs the length of the western side of the project site.
On November 3, 2016 the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development (ODMHED), as lead agency for the CEQR environmental review, issued an Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) and a Positive Declaration for the project indicating that there was the potential for adverse environmental impacts due to the project and directed that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared. At the same time, a Draft Scope of Work for a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) was issued for public comment. A public scoping meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 6:30 P.M. and held at Hostos Community College, Savoy Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 120 East 149th Street, Bronx, NY 10451. The comment period for the Draft Scope of Work remained open until December 19, 2016. On March 15, 2017, ODMHED issued the Final Scope of Work for the preparation of the DGEIS.
The Notice of Completion for the DGEIS was issued on March 16, 2017, which marked the beginning of the public comment period on this document. Following the publication of the DGEIS, a calculation error of the width increment threshold (WIT) for the subway station analysis was discovered. Accordingly, on June 9, 2017, a Technical Memorandum (TM001) was issued to consider whether the calculation error would result in any new or different significant adverse environmental impacts that were not already identified in the DGEIS. The analysis conducted in TM001 will also be incorporated into the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS). A public hearing on the DGEIS and TM001 will be held at a date to be announced. Advance notice will be advertised stating the time and place of the hearing. Written comments on the DGEIS and TM001 are requested and will be received and considered by the lead agency until the 10th calendar day following the close of the public hearing.
A public hearing on the DGEIS and TM001 was held on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., in Spector Hall, at 22 Reade Street, in Lower Manhattan. Written comments on the DGEIS and TM001 were requested and accepted by the Lead Agency, until Monday, July 24, 2017, at 5:00 p.m..
On August 10, 2017, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development issued the Notice of Completion for the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement, marking the completion of the project’s CEQR environmental review.
The environmental review documents can be downloaded from CEQR Access.