Bloomberg takes his Seaport City idea a step further

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking for someone to study the feasibility of building a Battery Park City on Manhattan's southeastern flank.

Today, his economic development corporation issued a request for proposals for a consultant to study the feasibility of building a "multi-purpose levee" along Manhattan's east side, south of Rutgers Street.

Responses are due August 22.

β€œBattery 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, in a statement. β€œThe resiliency plans we released last month continue to move forward, and this study will enable the City to evaluate an ambitious new idea for protecting vulnerable neighborhoods and making communities more vibrant.”

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Unlike Battery Park City, the east side of lower Manhattan got badly flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

In June, Bloomberg delivered a big post-Sandy resiliency speech in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, during which he proposed extending lower Manhattan's east side farther into, and higher above, the East River, creating a bulwark against future floods and expanding the amount of developable land in the area.

The idea is bold, and already somewhat controversial.

"In the midst of a brilliant plan that is innovative, this piece is a clunker," Roland Lewis, director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, told the Wall Street Journal in June. "There are other ways to protect downtown that would not involve massive land fill and would not harm one of the city's most historic districts."

The city hopes to execute a six-month contract with a consultant in mid-September, which means the report should come out right at the beginning of the next mayor's administration.

Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate for mayor who chaired the M.T.A. during Hurricane Sandy and the recovery, has endorsed the proposal. 

"Battery Park City took 40 years to make, so let's try to do it sooner," he told the Journal.