We heard quite a few gripes over the city’s steps to “activate” the abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street at Wednesday’s Community Board 3 meeting, and it seems the city heard them loud and clear…ish.
Board members worried that the subterranean site was on its way to being given to the Lowline project with a Christmas bow on it, and asked that a new Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the space be put on hold and restarted with community board input on guidelines and criteria.
Today Anthony Hogrebe, Economic Development Corporation’s senior vice president for public affairs, told us the agency will extend its original Dec. 23 deadline for expressions of interest for at least another month, “to ensure any interested parties have a chance to respond.”
Board members had said the window to submit proposals was too short, potentially favoring a very well-organized “entity.”
“My understanding is, the reason why you want to activate the space is because there’s been significant interest by a specific entity that’s probably pushed you to put it out there now,” said Enrique Cruz, a board member, at the meeting.
Many board members said they weren’t against the Lowline per se (in fact, the board voted to support it back in 2012) but asked the city to rescind the RFEI and start the process with community involvement from the get-go.
EDC reps maintain that the RFEI is no cause for concern. They say it’s a broad, open-ended document, and that the community board chair was informed of it before it was released on November 23. But since the EDC could potentially choose a “viable proposal” directly from an RFEI, bypassing a more stringent Request for Proposal (RFP) process guided by community board input, local groups will probably not stop agitating for more involvement at this stage.