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Old Posted May 4, 2019, 3:07 AM
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Arts center near Hudson Yards faces demolition from city to make way for new park

MAY 3, 2019

...As 6sqft learned last September, the city’s plan to expand the Hudson Yards park from West 36th to West 39th Street will be the city’s most expensive park project ever, originally dubbed Hudson Park and Boulevard, with a price tag of roughly $374 million. In March, the city renamed the park, of which the first phase opened in 2015, in honor of late U.S. Representative of New York, Bella Abzug.

The second phase of the project involves the city preparing to use eminent domain to build the three-acre addition of green space. According to THE CITY, there are 10 properties on the city’s condemnation list, including Hillman’s arts center.

According to Hillman’s attorneys, the city could take over the building as early as this fall. Hillman, who has owned the arts center for 15 years, said he knows it will be difficult to stop the city. But he remains optimistic. “If we’re not bold and hopeful, nothing will happen,” he told THE CITY. “We have to be hopeful and move forward as though we’ll be here.

Lincoln Patel, a lawyer for the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, a group overseen by Mayor Bill de Blasio, told THE CITY: “The city will work with displaced businesses to help find them suitable places to relocate. This park has been planned for over a decade and will provide much needed public open space.”

Earlier this year, developer Tishman Speyer bought a two-story auto repair shop on West 36th Street for $20 million. The company plans to demolish the building to make way for the Bella Abzug Park, and in exchange receive air rights from the city to build a tower bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

The owner of a Manhattan arts complex says he’s willing to give away the cultural institution to save it.

William Hillman’s Affirmation Arts, which sits in the path of a planned Hudson Yards park and roadway expansion, faces the wrecking ball, along with nine other nearby properties. He says he’d gladly hand over his building to the city — on the condition it remain intact as a cultural center.

“I would like to give this building to the people of New York City to share with the world,” the artist and philanthropist testified Tuesday at a hearing on plans to condemn his West 37th Street property to make way for the last phase of a park and boulevard north of Hudson Yards.

Hillman would not say how much he expected to get for his renovated, three-story 1920 structure, should the city seize it as planned. But he told THE CITY Thursday donating the building would be “by far the greatest philanthropic gift” of his lifetime.
A Hudson Yards Development Corporation lawyer said the agency is “open to all discussions and proposals,” but left little hope that Affirmation Arts could be saved – at least in its current spot between 10th and 11th avenues.

“The city will work with displaced businesses to help them find suitable places to relocate,” said the lawyer, Lincoln Patel. “This park has been planned for over a decade and will provide much needed public open space.”
Besides Affirmation, which is in the way of the planned extension of Hudson Boulevard, properties on the condemnation list include an 11-story hotel, multiple auto repair shops and a car service.
NEW YORK heals.

“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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