View Single Post
Old Posted Dec 17, 2014, 4:17 PM
sparkling's Avatar
sparkling sparkling is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 765
Neighbors weigh in on developer bid to build trio of sky-scraping towers in East Harlem

A rendering of the new public open space on E. 118th Street, which developers say would provide public art and amenities for the surrounding neighborhood

Developers who hope to build three controversial residential skyscrapers on top of an East Harlem shopping mall stressed Monday that their project would not raze any existing homes.

“No one will be displaced because of the building,” David Blumenfeld, principal at the Blumenfeld Development Group, told more than 100 residents at a community meeting at the East Harlem Multi-Service Center.

It was the fourth and final meeting the development group and its partner, Forest City Ratner, planned to host to court locals as part of its bid to win city approval.

But skeptical neighbors who have seen area rents skyrocket say market-rate apartments entering the neighborhood will worsen rent spikes, leading to larger-scale displacement.

“The affordable units built will be far outweighed by the number of local residents displaced because of rising rents,” said neighborhood activist Andrew Padilla.

Developers hope to sway the city to approve their plan for a soaring three-tower, 1,100-unit complex on top of the East River Plaza mall, between E. 116 and E. 118th Sts. right off the FDR East River Drive.

They promise 75% of the apartments will be market-rate, while one-fourth will be set aside for those earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, which in 2014 ranges between $25,170 and $50,340 for a family of four.

The project would also include a 30,000-square-foot cultural space, but a tenant has not yet been locked in, developers said.

Neighbors were split on the plan. Some echoed concerns of rising rents, while others said they were happy to see wealthier residents coming into the area.

Pat Cuomo, 65, who grew up in East Harlem public housing and now owns property in the neighborhood, was thrilled to hear low-income units would be spread out within the towers.

“I lived in the (Thomas Jefferson Houses), where it was segregation by income, by ethnicity and by color,” he said. “Those 25% that live in this project, it’s going to be a gift to them.”

The project must still undergo the public approval process because of separate retail space that will include a Target, Old Navy, Costco and Planet Fitness.

That process, which leads to a City Council vote and veto power from Mayor de Blasio, officially kicks off in early 2015.
Reply With Quote