STOP THE WALL !
AVALON BAY’S “BEHEMOTH” 96th STREET DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
“Clearly there are lot of very good public goods being planned for this site - no change in the playground size, three news schools, permanent affordable housing, but that comes at the cost of a building that is 724 feet tall. You may call it 68 stories but in linear terms that’s 72 tall. That’s almost as tall as the Time Warner Center.” - City Planning Commissioner, Anna Hayes Levin - May 10, 2017.
"How does that kind of height make sense at this location. Are we asking the applicant, the developer to carry too many public goods into this project. Are we producing a building that makes no sense in terms of its scale.”
The City Education Construction Fund (ECF) has made a deal with a private developer, Avalon Bay, to build a massive mixed use construction project on the corner of East 96th between 1st and 2nd avenues, which will encompass an entire city block. They propose to build on Marx Brothers Playground – a public park, which the MTA has been using as a staging area for 2nd Ave subway.
The City is attempting to hand over a public park to a private developer to build a massive 760 foot tower with 1100 apartments and a retail front. The original plan called for ONE school - no parkland alienation, and no problem. But now Speaker Mellissa Mark-Viverito is insisting THREE schools be built/jammed in at the site. The height would be egregiously out of context with the community.
Public parks do not have zoning so the city come up with a scheme to make this happen. They are attempting to get around this by having the State legislators temporally seize the park by Alienating it to allow development by creating commercial zoning. Senator Jose Serrano and Michael Benedetto are sponsoring.
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After the parkland is developed the land between buildings would be used as a public park.
This would set a VERY bad precedent, one that would open the floodgates and, at a minimum allow the development of not only every single one of the hundreds of Parks Department Jointly Operated Parks properties it shares with the DOE throughout the city, but ALL parks could be subjected to development thanks to this irresponsible legislation.
NO Public land would be safe in the city.
Conflict of interest. Jennifer Maldonado - Executive Director of Educational Construction Fund/Special Assistant to Deputy Chancellor testified at the City Planning hearing on May 10th that Assembly member Robert Rodriguez would be sponsoring the legislation for the Assembly. It was later revealed that Rodriguez is a Vice President at A.C. Advisory which is involved in the bonds financing ECF projects. They are a financial advisor to New York City and related authorities in the placement of bonds.
Subsequently The City enlisted Bronx Assembly member Michael Benedetto who represents the North East section of the Bronx to carry it for the Assembly. Benedetto heads the influential City Committee. The legislation was introduced on June 14th.
Home Rule: The City Council quietly voted on this last Wednesday at their stated meeting.
ECF claims that the only way to get these new school buildings, is by permitting the developer to openly flout height restrictions imposed by city zoning laws. The monstrous construction will not only cast ominous shadows, several acres wide on the surrounding neighborhood, but also create parking, traffic and safety issues, that are already a nightmare in the area. While neighborhood residents embrace having new schools, they bitterly oppose this plan. Any approved plan must be better aligned with city zoning requirements and fit well in the neighborhood context.
A well-planned marketing campaign by the city has been going on for quite some time. ECF and Avalon claim that they have the community’s support, which is entirely baseless. The people who live on 96th street and south have been kept in the dark. Area residents only learned about this in January 2017.
Community Board 8 was purposely left out of the community review process, even though most of the impacts will be felt there. We are doing our best to inform our neighbors about this irresponsible plan
before it’s too late.
The project is rapidly making its way through the public review process associated with land use and zoning laws (ULURP Process). The City is trying to get State legislation passed (Jose Serrano and Michael Benedetto) during this session, which ends on June 21st, 2017. This will enable the city to seize the parkland.
To learn more see video of City Planning Commission hearing held on May 8th, 2017.
See the Renderings of the proposed construction
Check out Facts & Fiction about claims that ECF and Avalon make about this project.
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East 96th Street & 2nd Avenue. A rendering depicting just a few floors of the massive, 760 foot, 68-story residential tower. This irresponsible development would be built on Marx Brothers Playground.
Say NO to Mid-Town Zoning in Yorkville/East Harlem!
Prevent Illegal Development Of Public Park Land City-Wide
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