City reaches out to developers to build high rises at sites of three schools

February 18, 2013 03:00PM

The city has reached out to developers for proposals to build high-rise towers at the site of two schools on the Upper West Side and one in Harlem, including the renowned Edward Durell Stone-designed P.S. 199, West Side Rag reported.

The schools—P.S. 199 Jessie Isador Straus located at 270 West 70th Street, P.S. 191 Amsterdam located at 210 West 61st Street and the School of Cooperative Technical Education located at 321 East 96th Street—could be demolished as early as 2015, a parent at P.S. 199 who attended a PTA meeting on the matter, told West Side Rag. In total, the three schools enroll just under 1,900 students.

“It’s just surprising that we weren’t made aware of it when the RFP went out,” the parent, Mindy, told West Side Rag. She added that the RFP had been issued at least six months ago and that the city had already received 24 proposals to build at the schools.

In a letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and city officials, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the proposal would be disruptive and “place an excessive burden on families who moved intentionally within the confines of the two schools’ zones so their children could attend a highly-ranked public school.” Stringer also noted that the selected schools had undergone $21 million worth of extensive renovations in recent years.

A Department of Education spokesman confirmed in a statement that the RFP had been issued, but stressed that it is non-binding. “We used an RFEI to solicit ideas from the development community from each of these sites but this does not obligate us to take any other action if we find that none of the responses are worth advancing to the development stage,” the statement said.

The Bloomberg Administration has been vigorously courting private developers with proposals to redevelop public spaces, such as the New York City Housing Authority’s plan to net roughly $50 million annually by leasing land for luxury high-rises. [West Side Rag]  –Hiten Samtani