Lenox Terrace Residents Still Oppose Six-Tower Expansion

lenox-terrace-currentIt’s been two and a half years since anything was last reported about the Olnick Organization‘s plan to expand the six-building Lenox Terrace complex, but now tenants of the Harlem rental enclave are ramping up their opposition efforts. Plans to expand the property, which sits between 132nd and 135th Streets and Lenox and Fifth Avenues, with six new towers have circulated for about five years, but nothing has happened yet. DNAinfo says that the latest opposition push comes after tenants met with the owners and reviewed the latest plans. Last week, the tenants association sent out a press release detailing their concerns and outlining what Olnick proposes.

As of right, Olnick would be able to build five new 16-story buildings with two-story commercial spaces along the perimeter and 218 above ground parking spaces, but they want a rezoning so they can build bigger. With a rezoning, Olnick wants to build six new towers up to 28-stories tall with taller retail spaces that could accommodate box stores. The proposal would add 1,100 apartments, 20 percent of which would be affordable, a landscaped park, and a 548-space underground parking garage. Currently, there is no application for a rezoning on file with City Planning.

What the current tenants have to say >>

Materials from the tenants association say that 78 percent of residents oppose the expansion plan and any rezoning, as it would “be an unsustainable burden to the community,” and the increase of commercial properties “would also adversely affect the character of what is now a primarily residential neighborhood.” They do not want the neighborhood to become “a commercial destination,” and they fear that big box stores will push out small, family-owned businesses. Additionally, they’re concerned that the dirt and noise from construction, which would be done in phases and last about eight years, would cause adverse health affects and the new towers would block light and air from current apartments.

Friday, April 11, 2014, by Jessica Dailey

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One thought on “Lenox Terrace Residents Still Oppose Six-Tower Expansion

  1. Gentrifying East Harlem – A Myth or Reality
    There are a good number of journalists writing about the changing face of Harlem and El Barrio. The “rapid demographic changes” at the hands of young adventurous professional moving into the neighborhood “I say don’t believe the hype”.
    Yeah, young adventurous newcomers’ walking and shopping on the streets of El Barrio, interacting with each other and gathering together in selectively nearby eateries and cafes.
    The question for those families contemplating the possibility of relocating to El Barrio – should be – will El Barrio change at a rate that will suit these newcomers’? Do they understand the trials and tribulations residents of El Barrio are confronted with each day? The fact that El Barrio has been subjected to over twenty-two methadone programs and largest City Housing “Projects” in the United States.
    The answer is “No”; these are young adventurous newcomers living in El Barrio temporary as guess. Most, are students, doctors, nurses and even tourist forced to occupy an apartment because of their obligation as a student and or commitment to employer?
    Why are these individuals occupying apartment in El Barrio? The answer to the question is simple, they have no choice they are forced to occupy these apartments. Real Estate Strategist, Developers and the City Planning Commission collectively have decided to implement a logistic plan to gentrify specific neighborhoods. When the real estate market dries out in prime neighborhoods these opportunist must find vulnerable communities with the blessing of the City Planning Commission at the expense of low and moderate income families. They feel a need to find new methods of reinventing solutions to a shrinking city-wide market.
    So, from my point of view, it appears that local newspapers and even websites are promulgating the myth in an attempt to generate a real movement for gentrification. Who’s responsible in pushing this myth and trying to convince newcomers’ to relocate in El Barrio and to other neighborhood? Who are these Real Estate Strategist and Developers secretly meeting and planning to influence the future of communities like El Barrio?
    To prove my point, If you made a list of each and every appointee to the City Planning Commission for the past twenty years you will find a subtle legal conflict of interest or impropriety in the approval process of contract and subcontracts. This practice has allowed developers and their associates to acquire contracts from the City Planning Commission.
    East River Plaza Development is one example that directly ties a global structural engineering firm to contracts with the blessing of the City Planning Commission.
    For the past several years, this same structural engineering firm acquired numerous assignments to certify the structural soundness of residential and commercial developments. The information is readily available for anyone to find. I’m just personally puzzled, how this practice can continue to go on without due diligence or government interaction.

    My recommendation to City Hall and government officials would be to revamp the current structure and replace member of the City Planning Commission with experience professors with a long history in the field of City Planning and with no prior affiliation with any developer or real estate strategist.

    By: Nelson

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