Volume 17, Number 52 | May 20 - 26, 2005

C.B.1 approves Tribeca tower

Developer Edward Minskoff sped threw one more roadblock on Wednesday night when Community Board 1 gave him the green light on Site 5B, a residential development in Tribeca.

Residents turned out in force to support a community center, which, as part of the development agreement, will be built on nearby Site 5C, funded in part with more than $3 million of Minskoff’s money.

“We really need this community center,” said Kathy Sussell, parent coordinator for P.S. 234, an overcrowded elementary school across the street from the development. “We need a place for the children in the neighborhood.”

The center, which will serve adults as well as children, is only one part of a larger agreement that was forged last year between Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff and City Councilmember Alan Gerson. The agreement also includes a pre-K-8 school on the East Side, an annex for P.S. 234 and $7.5 million for Washington Market Park.

Minskoff’s development, at 270 Greenwich St., is in the midst of a lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and needs community board approval to go through with the plan. As part of the agreement, a height increase to the building facing P.S. 234 requires C.B. 1 approval – a unique position for a community board. In exchange for the height increase, Minskoff will offer additional funding for the community center.

Just how much funding remains to be seen, although it will be no less than $3 million. “The ultimate amount of the contribution to the community center will be an appraisal of the property – but it’s really an unknown at this moment,” Minskoff Equities CFO Ben McGrath told the board.

Several board members wondered if more funding might be available for the community center from the developer. The city, however, seemed eager to put the deal to bed. “The funding that has been allocated is what has been discussed,” said Melissa Smith of the Economic Development Corporation. “Once the project site is transferred to the owner, we don’t see any additional funding happening.”

With that said, the board voted overwhelmingly to support the ULURP, sending it on its way to the Manhattan Borough President’s office and finally the City Council for approval.

—Ronda Kaysen

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