I have hazy memories of seeing some sort of rendering of the ginormous housing developments which now span Houston St - 2nd St. It was around 2000, and in some sort of document I stumbled across in the the Cooper Union library. According to this article, a plan had been in the work for decades, so the information I found could have been much older than what was being proposed at the time (which got built).
Memorable quotes from the NY Times article "At Cooper Square, a New Player Takes the Stage":
"TWENTY years ago -- or 30 or 40 for that matter -- the Cooper Square Committee would have scorned the redevelopment plan for three acres of urban renewal land off East Houston Street that a community task force worked out with the Giuliani administration a year ago. The committee is a nonprofit community development organization that formed four decades ago to resist the redevelopment plans of Robert Moses in the neighborhood."
---------The "suburbanization" of New York maybe can begin to be explained by things like this that started happening under Giuliani--------
"AvalonBay Communities, based in Alexandria, Va., is undertaking the Cooper Square project in partnership with Williams Jackson Ewing, a national retail developer based in Baltimore, and Blackacre Capital, a private investment firm in New York City. Phipps Houses, the New York-based nonprofit housing company, will participate as the developer and owner of a portion of the low-income apartments."
"It is unusual for a national real estate company to undertake residential development in New York City, and even more unusual for it to take the path of bidding for a city-sponsored proposal. For most such companies, the major capital investment required at the beginning of a process of uncertain duration and outcome seems daunting. Companies experienced in the vagaries of New York City development are normally the only participants."
"But the attraction is the chance to own new rental property in a market that is unlikely to become oversupplied with it. ''Our strategy is to focus on the strongest markets,'' said Bryce Blair, president of AvalonBay. ''The markets with the strongest constraints on supply over the long term will be the healthiest.''"
"The design and architectural plan is the work of the New York office of Arquitectonica, an international firm that was founded in Florida in 1977 and became known in its early days for a flamboyant condominium in Miami called the Atlantis, in which a 37-square-foot cube was cut to create a 10-story interior skycourt. Bernardo Fort-Brescia, a founder of the firm, is the chief architect for Cooper Square."