New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that the city is seeking proposals for the development of a 1.5 mile multipurpose levee along the eastern edge of Lower Manhattan, which would aim to prevent future flooding.
First proposed in June as part of a 400-page resiliency plan, the project, dubbed Seaport City, aims to shield the area from the type of flooding that devastated Lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Stretching from the Battery to just north of the Manhattan Bridge, the levee would create new land along the riverfront to build a new commercial and residential district with storm-resistant infrastructure to protect the vulnerable area against the rising sea and high winds.
Bloomberg’s vision for the project would be modeled after Battery Park City, which was built on land reclaimed from the Hudson River. The levee’s elevation would be determined by current floodplan data and adjusted for expected sea level rise beyond the year 2050, according to the report.
“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 Bloomberg, who will be leaving office at the end the year.
Critics have questioned if the estimated $20 billion dollar project is feasible, given that it is unknown how much the sea could rise, and also raised questions about the environmental and financial impacts of the development. The project would also landlock the historic South Street Seaport area, which would likely draw ire from local businesses and residents who are accustomed to a river view.
The RFP was announced on July 31, with an information session scheduled for August 7th. Proposals are due August 22. For more information, visit nyc.gov.