De Blasio unveils $10B resiliency plan to extend lower Manhattan into East River

Lower Manhattan

The eastern edge of downtown will push out 500 feet into the
East River under the plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans Thursday to extend lower
Manhattan into the East River, pushing out the east edge of the
downtown coastline as much as two city blocks in a plan that will
cost a whopping $10 billion.

The
massive plan
is part of a multi-pronged approach to prevent
storm surges and rising sea level from inundating lower
Manhattan—20 percent of downtown is expected to flood daily in
100 years, according to the city. New York is no stranger to
climate change, with Superstorm Sandy serving as a 2012 preview of
what unprecedented storms can, and will continue to do, to the
city. There is little choice but to take drastic steps to protect
the economic heart of New York City—where 1 in 10 jobs are
located—de Blasio told reporter Thursday.

“When it comes to New York City, one of the great coastal
cities of the world, we are particularly threatened and nowhere is
that threat greater than for the hundreds of thousands of people
who live and work in lower Manhattan,” said de Blasio. “We had
to come to grips with the sheer magnitude of what had to be done
and the challenge of making it happen.”

The plan invests $500 million toward flood protection measures
in the Lower East Side, South Street Seaport, the Financial
District, and Battery Park. South Street Seaport and the Financial
District present a unique challenge due to the area’s low-lying
topography and its web of infrastructure that gives the city few
options but to build outward at least 20 feet above sea level—at
a colossal cost. (Currently, those neighborhoods max out at about
eight feet above sea level.)

“The reality is we went through a comprehensive analysis of
every possible alternative and there’s just no viable alternative
but to build in the water,” James Patchett, the head of the
city’s Economic Development Corporation, told reports
Thursday.

De Blasio said the development of new streets and building is
“possible” on that land. Parks, schools and other public
amenities are also on the table, he said.

The city is kicking in funds for the early stages of the plan
but de Blasio says he aims to foot the bill for the multi-billion
dollar project through state and federal funds. If the federal
government doesn’t cough up the cash needed for the project, the
city will turn to the private sector.

Other parts of the plan are less ambitious but still
daunting:

Two Bridges will get both physical walls and “deployable
flip-up barriers” that will act as a bulwark against storm
surges. Construction on the $200 million project is expected to
begin in 2021.

In the Battery, the wharf and waterfront esplanade will be
lifted, and a berm will be added to provide additional protection.
This project, also expected to begin in 2021, will cost an
estimated $165 million.

The Batter Park City Authority will also reconstruct its
esplanade and open space. Designs took shape last years and shovel
are expected to hit the ground in 2020.

Other temporary flood protection measures—such as pre-deployed
HESCO barriers and dams—will also be implemented later this year,
to the tune of $3.5 million.

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
De Blasio unveils B resiliency plan to extend lower Manhattan into East River