The City Council held a public hearing on the proposed Chelsea Market expansion today, but City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose vote is key to the approval of the project, was nowhere to be found. Quinn has not yet taken a position on the expansion, but many attendees had hoped to get a sense of her views at the hearing.
Jamestown Properties, which owns the market, is seeking to build a nine-story office tower atop the converted Nabisco factory, and had previously planned to construct a hotel on the property as well. But community groups claim the addition could devastate the historic building and increase traffic in the area.
Quinn’s silence on the issue may be motivated by her as-yet-unannounced run for New York City mayor, where she will need to balance the interests of the community that brought her to the forefront of city politics with the wishes of business interests who have donated to her campaign.
A Quinn spokesperson said that the Speaker does not always show up at hearings. “Negotiations are ongoing and no vote is expected today,” the spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
Some residents who attended the hearing said they are still worried about neighborhood congestion, but Jamestown’s lawyer claimed that would not be an issue. “We do not think it will cause any impact,” the lawyer said.