New York City Economic Development Corporation is putting out feelers in an attempt to find a firm to lease and operate the Maiden Lane South Pavilion in Lower Manhattan.

The Maiden Lane South Pavilion will be the first of several pavilions built as part of the city’s East River Waterfront Esplanade and Piers Project, whose goal is to transform the underutilized portions of East River waterfront, from the Maritime Building to East River Park, into pedestrian-friendly, publicly accessible open space that will enhance the community’s waterfront experience.

The Esplanade was originally developed as part of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Vision for Lower Manhattan,” first released in 2002. Its plan was designed by a team of consultants who worked closely with the EDC, the Department of City Planning, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, local elected officials and the Lower Manhattan community. The effort has been funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program and the Federal Highway Administration.

Programming suggestions for the Maiden Lane South Pavilion include a food service or a recreation facility, but other creative programming concepts that meet the project’s goals will be considered. Individuals and companies may propose to use up to 4,500 sq ft of enclosed pavilion space and up to 2,700 sq ft of optional outdoor space. The EDC will construct the core and shell of the Maiden Lane South Pavilion which is expected to be ready for tenant occupancy and fit-out by spring 2011.

“Providing New Yorkers and visitors with enhanced access to our waterfront has long been a priority for this Administration,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky in a statement. “As part of the new East River Esplanade Project, the Maiden Lane South Pavilion will help deliver on the promise of Lower Manhattan’s waterfront, transforming this underused segment of our waterfront into a vibrant and inviting public open space that will draw residents and visitors alike to this great natural resource.”

Responses to the RFEI are due by June 5, 2009.