Volume 17 • Issue 36 | February 4 - 10, 2005

Silver says school deal has been reached

By Josh Rogers

Mayor Bloomberg and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reached a deal Wednesday night to build a new K-8 school on Lower Manhattan’s East Side, Silver told Downtown Express.

“It’s a great thing for the Downtown community,” Silver said in a telephone interview.

The school will be built on the parking lot behind NYU Downtown Hospital, between Beekman and Spruce Sts. The hospital recently sold the site to developer Bruce Ratner, who plans to build a Frank Gehry-designed residential tower with hospital facilities on the lower floors. Pace University was also slated to move into the 1 million-square-foot building, but the university dropped out of the deal in November, opening the door for an elementary and middle school.

Silver said Bloomberg had been concerned about the costs of the school, but the mayor called Wednesday to say the school will be built on the site. The city has $44 million in its capital budget for the school and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., a state-city agency, may be asked to pay as much as $25 million to help pay any additional costs.

Silver, whose district includes the World Trade Center site, said Bloomberg did not discuss any financing specifics and the speaker expected to learn more details Thursday. It is not clear when construction on the school will start and finish. An announcement ceremony with Bloomberg, Silver and Ratner is being scheduled for Friday, Feb. 4.

The New York Times and Daily News had previously reported that the school negotiations had been linked to Bloomberg’s efforts to convince Silver to back a Jets stadium on the West Side but Silver said Wednesday that the stadium was “never discussed” during the school negotiations. “The mayor’s an honorable man,” Silver added.

Lower Manhattan is the fastest growing part of the city and a new school particularly on the East Side has been the top priority of Community Board 1 and local political leaders.


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