Seaport City Study Results Expected Early 2014

Amsterdam-based company chosen to explore multipurpose levee on Manhattan’s East River shore
By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times
October 3, 2013 Updated: October 3, 2013

NEW YORK—The feasibility of one of the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s more high-profile proposals to make New York more resilient, Seaport City, will be studied by the Dutch firm ARCADIS.

The international firm was selected from among a “robust” group of applicants, according to a representative for the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) who spoke with Epoch Times Thursday. The firm is expected to finish its study by March 2014.

Seaport City is proposed as a multipurpose levee in Manhattan, from the Battery Park Maritime Building to Pier 35, and out into the water. The levee, if it is built wide, has the potential to support development, but specific proposals have not yet been put forward.

“This study could come back any number of ways with any type of paths,” according to the EDC representative.

Seaport City is just one of 257 initiatives proposed by Bloomberg to prepare New York City for the future impacts of climate change. The mayor has likened the idea to Battery Park City, created through a 92-acre land reclamation project using excavated soil and rock from construction of the World Trade Center.

The initiatives, published in a hefty 436-page report earlier this year, are all geared toward making New York City more resistant to climate change and a rising flood plain.

Whether or not the vision of Seaport City, as a multipurpose levee that protects 1.5 miles of shoreline, is even plausible, will be studied by ARCADIS and its team of seven sub-contractors in coming months. ARCADIS specializes in consultancy, design, engineering, and management services in the areas of infrastructure, water, environment, and buildings.

Though the firm is headquartered in Amsterdam, its subcontractors have regional roots, expertise, and knowledge. These include seven U.S.-based firms.

The EDC representative would not say how many companies ARCADIS beat out for the contract to conduct the Seaport City feasibility study. How much the city will pay for the study was also not disclosed, but the EDC said it plans to make the information available sometime in October.

Originally proposed as part of the mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR), Seaport City is expected to generate economic development.

At community board meetings in September, EDC representatives said SIRR’s initiatives will cost a total of about $20 billion. In those same meetings, Dan Zarrilli, the city’s new director of resiliency under the mayor’s office, said that $5 billion in costs are currently not covered, and Seaport City might be part of the solution.

According to the SIRR report, ARCADIS and its subcontractors will study how Seaport City can address coastal flooding and create “economic development opportunities.” The report also outlines how Seaport City is envisioned as something that could offer protection during extreme weather events and “over time, could be self-financing.”