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NYC Debates a Controversial Condo Project with $300 Million in City Benefits

by Lark Turner

NYC Debates a Controversial Condo Project with $300 Million in City Benefits: Figure 1

A proposed New York City development has spawned a fierce debate over how to use public lands, how new architecture fits into a historic area and whether generous concessions and amenity packages from developers can make an otherwise-opposed project a reality.

If that sounds familiar to DC residents, there’s a reason: DC’s large swaths of often-valuable city-owned land are often the subject of similar debates across the city, from Hine Junior High School at Eastern Market to McMillan Park to the Grimke School near U Street.

The Howard Hughes Corporation wants to redevelop Manhattan’s South Street Seaport in a project of Wharf-like proportions, according to a report in Tuesday’s New York Times. The $1.5-billion redevelopment project would include a 500-foot condominium tower that’s the subject of all the consternation from neighbors. The Seaport is filled with small, historic brick buildings that neighbors want to preserve — and the condo tower would block views.

But in addition to — or perhaps in exchange for — building the tower, the Howard Hughes Corporation has offered a $300 million amenity package to the city, which would include building a public middle school, restoring damaged historic buildings, and creating a market. That hasn’t stopped neighbors and the local city council member from opposing the project.

Howard Hughes’ CEO, David R. Weinreb, told the NYT that the neighborhood couldn’t get one without the other.

“We feel like we’ve met every one of the community’s needs, except the elimination of the tower,” he said. “The tower represents the economic driver for everything else.”

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/new_york_debates_a_controversial_condo_that_would_bring_300_million_in_city/9538

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