A consortium of developers, community groups and businesses that lost a bid to develop a massive project on Harlem’s 125th Street is crying foul, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The winning group, which includes developer Hudson Companies, have proposed a 400,000-square-foot building, with a civil rights museum, retail, new offices for the National Urban League, as well as 100,000 square feet of affordable, low-income and market-rate housing. But the losing group — which includes Grid Properties, Gotham Properties and the Harlem Commonwealth Council — said that the project will result in fewer jobs than their proposal, which they say is more in line with what the city outlined in its request for proposals.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” Curtis Sherrod, executive director of the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, which was part of the losing team, told the Journal. The group’s project would have provided additional space to the cultural center as well as to Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The city-owned site is currently a parking garage on 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue. Bloomberg Administration officials defended their decision and pointed out that the request for proposals did not exclude housing. The criticism of the award was “an unfortunate case of sour grapes,” said a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corp. He added that the development would result in “a dynamic mix of retail, commercial, community and residential space that will continue to enrich and enliven Harlem’s 125th Street corridor.” [WSJ] —Hiten Samtani