EDC seeks ideas for prime Harlem site

By Katherine Clarke | June 11, 2012 01:00PM

The city’s Economic Development Corporation is seeking ideas for how best to develop a Harlem site that could bring to the neighborhood some 85,000 square feet of residential, community and retail space.

The 13,500-square-foot site, where there is currently a BP gas station, is situated at 2040 Frederick Douglas Boulevard, at the northwest corner of Central Park. The EDC has put forth a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for the property, which the agency hopes will be “transformed into a new residential or community facility space that could complement the existing neighborhood,” an EDC spokesperson said.

“By allowing us to explore what type of development is feasible at this site, the REFI will provide us with the insights we need to determine what steps we may take going forward at this critical location,” EDC President Seth Pinsky said.

The EDC said that all proposals should include either affordable housing, a not-for-profit community facility space of at least 8,000 square feet, or a portion of the retail space made available at below market rate to the current owner, whose name is not disclosed on the property’s deed. Respondents should also outline how much they would be willing to pay for the property.

While the city does not own the site, it has the right to reacquire it from the private owner, who purchased it from the city in 1996. As part of its negotiated sale to its current owner, the city stipulated that it could take back the site within 20 years for the purposes of economic development.

An RFEI is generally EDC’s first step in determining who might be interested in developing the site and for what purpose. It will likely be followed by a request for proposals before a developer is selected.