Haven Green Community Update

Thank you to all who have reached out with questions about construction of Haven Green which has been delayed since the summer of 2019 due to litigation.

While we still await a judicial ruling following the December 2020 oral arguments, we are happy to share developments on an Innovative deal to double the publicly accessible green space planned for Haven Green that also preserves the neighboring 40-year-old affordable rental building next door.

Under the plan approved by City Council this fall, the affordability of 152 rental homes at Little Italy Restoration Apartments (“LIRA”), located at 21 Spring Street in Manhattan was preserved through 2061. The building is also participating in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Aging in Place initiative, which is designed to improve the accessibility of homes for seniors and people with disabilities while helping create more inclusive neighborhoods.

LIRA’s owners, LIHC Investment Group, have agreed to share a portion of the property’s courtyard to supplement Haven Green’s planned 8,400 square feet of publicly accessible and open green space—bringing the total accessible green space on the site to nearly 16,000 square feet – approximately 80% of the current lot size! The remainder of the courtyard will be reserved for the private use of LIRA’s residents, ensuring their privacy and security.

The expiring affordability status of LIRA was brought to our attention during the extensive community outreach and participatory design process. Visits to the development site by the Haven Green team showed that the interior courtyard of the building was separated from the future public space by a chain-link fence and could use capital improvements.

After listening to the community, the Haven Green development team brought to the Speaker and Council Member the idea to preserve 21 Spring Street as affordable housing and connect the two open spaces in response to residents who expressed opposition to the project because of a lack of access to green space in the neighborhood.

The deal requires both properties’ green spaces to be publicly accessible year around and exemplifies community engagement’s impact in affordable housing development. We heard time and again that both affordable housing and green space are important to this neighborhood. This unique deal is a win-win-win that provides more of both to generations of diverse New Yorkers who will call Little Italy home, doubling both the housing and green space impact of Haven Green.

We plan to move forward with the creation of a Community Advisory Committee to help determine programming, resource allocation, capital improvements, outreach, and oversight of the green space, including pursuing registration with GreenThumb, the largest community gardening program in the country. The larger green space will be added to the still open public participatory design process to ensure 21 Spring Street residents have a say in the expanded plan, which could include existing privately-owned sculptural assets should the owners be interested in continuing the legacy of the neighboring space. The lease for the green space between the two property owners will be for 99-years.

We appreciate all who have reached out in support and who have respectfully opposed but contributed to improving the development. Your contributions enhance the impact of our work and help improve the lives of current and future residents of the community.