Local Harlem residents are speaking out against a proposed new development from Edward Blumenfeld’s Blumenfeld Development Group and Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner Companies for the East River Plaza shopping mall. The two firm’s own the mall.
Some of the concerns include the need for the development to do away with an iconic cobblestone street, as well as a loss of parking in the area.
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Joseph Delerme, a lawyer who has lived on that block his entire life, told DNAInfo, “The block I live in, the dead end block, is going to be their driveway.”
Some people also feel that Blumfeld and Ratner had always planned on the new development going back to before the shopping complex was constructed. They point to the fact that the mall was designed with the ability to build the towers on top of it.
While 25% of the apartments are said to be reserved for affordable housing, there is worry over the continued gentrification of Harlem.
Delerme also said, “Nobody used to be interested in East Harlem. Now that the rest of Manhattan is tapped out in terms of development East Harlem is becoming a land grab.”
The two New York real estate firms are planning to construct residential apartment towers with a total of 1, 000 units above the 500, 000 square foot retail complex which includes a Costco, a Target and a Burlington Coat Factory. The developers said that the building will offer more than just 20% of its units for affordable housing required under the New York City 80/20 program.
The site overlooks the FDR Drive between East 116th and East 119th streets.
The plan calls for three new towers up to 48 stories high with a total of 1.1 million square feet and an open public space on East 118th Street. It was unveiled to a meeting of local residents last month.