The Real Deal New York

Government Briefs

November 16, 2007

Washington Square Park redesign approved
The city Art Commission approved plans last month for a $16 million redesign of Washington Square Park, the New York Times reported. The approval was the final legislative step needed, and construction could start as early as the spring. The plan includes moving the fountain and erecting a 4-foot fence around the park.

New business district centers on 23rd Street
Mayor Bloomberg signed off last month on the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, the city’s newest business improvement district, the Villager reported. The retail-heavy district encompasses 1,376 buildings housing 4,927 businesses, and stretches roughly from Sixth to Third avenues and from 21st to 29th streets.

Details of World Trade Center memorial revealed
New details of the World Trade Center Memorial design – including a contemplation room and a chamber for the unidentified remains of those lost – were revealed last month, the New York Daily News reported. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. was scheduled to present the plans to builders who will bid on a contract to lay the cement footings for the memorial and memorial museum. Members of Downtown Community Board 1 were told that construction of the footings will begin on Mar. 13.

Chinatown named Empire Zone
After four years of waiting, Chinatown was named an Empire Zone last month, Crain’s reported. Under the program, qualifying businesses receive tax breaks and low-cost loans for increasing their investments and adding to their workforces. Fieldston Historic District created in the Bronx The Landmarks Preservation Commission last month designated a 257-building area in the western Bronx as the Fieldston Historic District, according to the New York Observer. The area’s development as a residential area dates back to at least the 1820s, and English Tudor, Mediterranean, and Georgian Colonial are among the styles of homes there.

Paving over may soon be over in Queens
Although it’s becoming a much more common practice in northern Queens, some residents and area leaders want to curb the paving over of front yards. Property owners contend the paving gives them parking spaces for tenants they rent their property to – plus, pavement’s cheaper to maintain than grass. Proponents of a curb, however, say the paved yards are eyesores that may also lead to illegal subdividing of apartments, the Queens Courier reported.

State money set aside for Governors Island
Gov. Pataki announced last month that $30 million will be set aside in the next state budget for improvements and preservation work on Governors Island. The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, a city-state agency, plans to seek development proposals this month for the 172-acre island between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the Daily News reported.

Concerns over NYU dorm spawn subcommittee
Manhattan’s Community Board 3 recently created a subcommittee to examine residents’ concerns about a proposed New York University dorm. The university and developer the Hudson Companies have been converting the site of the former Church of Saint Ann at 110-124 East 12th Street into a new student dorm that could go as high as 26 stories, the Observer reported.

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