Volume 19 • Issue 5 | June 16 - 22, 2006

And then there were none

Thirty-eight years after the Battery Park City Authority was created by the state Legislature, the agency on Wednesday designated Milstein Properties to develop the neighborhood’s last two sites.

The firm will build two residential buildings at the west end of the neighborhood ballfields, and a 50,000-square-foot recreation center with a swimming pool, gym, auditorium and dance rooms. Construction is expected to begin next spring. The apartments are scheduled to open in the fall of 2008 and the community center in the spring of 2009.

The building at the corner of North End Ave. and Murray St. will be 320 feet high and the one at North End and Warren St. will be 230 feet. Together they will be almost 560,000 square feet of residential space.

“It’s a milestone in the history of Battery Park City,” James Gill said in a telephone interview. “We ran out of sites.”

About one third of the 92 acres of landfill that makes up the neighborhood came from the construction of the World Trade Center. Although Albany created the authority to develop the neighborhood in 1968, it was not until 1982 when the first buildings in Gateway Plaza opened. The World Financial Center was next.

There were no surprises in Wednesday’s announcement since the size of the buildings and rec center were agreed to by the authority, the city and Community Board 1 several years ago. Milstein became the likely developer last June when it sold a parcel of land across from the W.T.C. to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for $59 million.

Under the deal, Milstein got the exclusive negotiating rights to the B.P.C. lots, Sites 23 and 24.

Gill said the neighborhood’s parks and high environmental building standards make it “the blueprint for urban development U.S.A.”

There has been much speculation that the authority would soon close its doors after it designates the last developer, but Gill said there are several ongoing construction projects to manage. Apparently, reports of its death have been exaggerated. “We’re going to be around for a long time,” he said.

—Josh Rogers


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