Deputy Mayor seeks $11.2M in state funds

Projects intended to spur development in Harlem and Jamaica. On September 21, 2007, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development held a hearing in the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s offices to receive public comment on the City’s plan to seek State funds for two redevelopment projects in Harlem and Jamaica. The City hopes to secure State funding under the Restore New York’s Communities Initiative, a State initiative created last year to revitalize urban areas and stabilize neighborhoods.

Under the Restore NY plan, municipalities must submit an application to the Empire State Development Corporation that details a project on government-owned land which will attract people and investment, increase the tax base, improve municipal finances and lessen dependence on state aid. The City is limited to two annual applications of $10 million each.

In Harlem, the City plans to construct an architecturally significant building, complete with recording and performing studio space, to be located along West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and Lenox Avenue. The City claims the building would serve as the corporate headquarters for a major entertainment company. The project also includes a parking garage and space for ground-floor retail. Currently, a City-owned parking structure occupies the proposed site. The City is requesting $10 million from the State, the maximum allowed, to defray the costs associated with the demolition and reconstruction of the proposed parking garage.

In Jamaica, the City would demolish 1 and 2-story light industrial buildings, some of which currently lie vacant, in order to construct a $200 million mixed-use development with 370 units of affordable housing, 250 hotel rooms, 73,000 sq.ft. of retail space, and 260 parking spaces. According to the City, the project would generate 535 permanent jobs and attract 370 households to the area. At the moment, the City owns nine of the site’s ten lots, and is in negotiations over the purchase of the tenth lot. The City is requesting $1.2 million from the State to cover the demolition costs.

At the public hearing, representatives from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation expressed support for the proposed applications.

The City submitted its applications to ESDC on September 28, 2007.

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