It’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.
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