CHINATOWN – Council Member Chin issued the following statement regarding the future of 70 Mulberry, which suffered a debilitating fire in January 2020 causing the displacement of its nonprofit tenants:
“While I am thankful that City Hall granted the community’s requests for a town hall on 70 Mulberry to allow residents to help shape the future of this building, the community must be prepared with the information we need to share our feedback. I urge the City to immediately release the name and credentials of the 3rd party contractor as well as the full engineer’s report. Community members have been very clear during the Community Board 3 Land Use Committee hearing in their ask to be provided this information prior to a town hall. It is unacceptable that we still have not received this information. 70 Mulberry is a building that has carried deep reverence and history in the Chinatown community for generations. Any process deciding its future must be handled with the same weight and respect.I call for the City to create a comprehensive community engagement process that sets clear benchmarks for accountability and fully involves the displaced tenants and the community in the building design pre-planning process and throughout the construction timeline. It must be a full transparent process that includes ongoing and frequent virtual community meetings and real-time progress reportsto my office and Community Board 3.The sentimental and historical value of 70 Mulberry is immeasurable, and I urge the City to take the necessary steps to preserve the building’s historic architectural design as much as possible. Furthermore, ADA accessibility and bringing the building up to code for fire safety must be a key design consideration. We need a comprehensive approach to this project that benefits the displaced community groups and Chinatown residents. We can, and must, use this moment to identify every opportunity to help meet the larger needs of the community, which is why public engagement must be a priority in this conversation — not an afterthought.”City officials will be coming before Community Board 3 for a virtual town hall on 70 Mulberry co-sponsored by Council Member Chin tomorrow, June 25th at 6:30 PM. The meeting can be accessed at https://zoom.us/j/98374160079 (Meeting ID: 983 7416 0079) or by phone at +1 (646) 518-9805.