The Restoration of Restoration Plaza

Restoration Plaza, an economic development initiative conceived as part of Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (with then Senator Jacob K. Javits and Mayor Lindsay pushing it along), opened in the mid-1970s: 300,000 square feet of commercial space including the Billie Holiday Theatre, the Skylight Gallery, local businesses and non-profits, and plenty of chains (it was created by the nation's first Community Development Corporation, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation). Many count it a success; even so, it's getting an upgrade, courtesy of Garrison Architects (whose plans for Redesigning Grand Army Plaza came in third in the recent contest). Here's what they have planned: "Restoration Plaza will become an open, accessible, and vibrant place, filled with people and bustling with activity. Its open spaces will be lined with benches and plantings. Shops and galleries will be clearly visible from Fulton Street... At night it will... be busy with neighborhood residents and visitors attending performances and movies in the Plaza's cultural centers. The Plaza will be surrounded with light from the Wall of Fame celebrating the founders of Restoration Plaza and Bedford Stuyvesant's most influential citizens." The final phase includes a garden and a "Great Hall" for weddings and concerts.

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