Natural History museum isn’t entitled to city-owned land, activists say

Institution is moving forward with pre-construction work as opponents wait for court hearing

New York /
Sep.September 24, 2018 09:20 AM

A protesting group overlaid on a rendering of the Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History (Credit: Studio Gang and Pixabay)

The American Museum of Natural History is moving ahead with its $383 million expansion, even though community activists are waiting for their day in court.

Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park earlier this year filed a lawsuit against the museum and the city, claiming the institution isn’t entitled to the city-owned land needed for the expansion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Despite the fact that a hearing on the case is scheduled for Oct. 2, the museum is already moving ahead with pre-construction work on the site.

“I look at this as a bullying tactic,” Laura Messersmith, an activist and plaintiff in the lawsuit, told the Journal. “[The museum] is trying to send the message this is a done deal.”

The museum sits on a plot of the city-owned Theodore Roosevelt Park from 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The museum has planned a five-story building named the Richard Gilder Center that would be adjacent to the existing building, scheduled to open in 2021.

But community members opposing the expansion say it would draw too much pedestrian and vehicular traffic to the neighborhood. They say that under the terms of an 1876 state statute and the city’s lease agreement with the museum, the cultural institution doesn’t have the right to expand in the park.

The city’s Law Department, however, said the expansion is authorized by state law and the lease agreement. A spokesperson for the museum said it “established a construction task force which includes representatives from neighborhood groups and is available to address concerns or problems that may arise during the construction period.”

A judge’s ruling on the case could come within three to six months following the hearing. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann

 

Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Jonathon Yormak,founder, managing principal, East End Capital; and map of 48-02 48th Avenue in Sunnyside Queens (East End Capital, Google Maps)
East End Capital bets on Sunnyside industrial
East End Capital bets on Sunnyside industrial
John Gilbert (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
Rudin COO and tech chief John Gilbert to step down
Rudin COO and tech chief John Gilbert to step down
Craig Solomon, ceo, Square Mile Capital (iStock)
Square Mile issued record $3.1B of loans fueled by multifamily, life sciences
Square Mile issued record $3.1B of loans fueled by multifamily, life sciences
TENNY Policy Director Martha Star and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander (NYU Wagner, New York City Comptroller)
Last Stand: Property tax reformers recruit Lander to lawsuit
Last Stand: Property tax reformers recruit Lander to lawsuit
Dermot Shea, former NYPD commissioner (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
Related hires Ex-NYPD commissioner to head property management
Related hires Ex-NYPD commissioner to head property management
LEX CEO Drew Sterrett (iStock, Twitter/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Startup LEX raises $15M to “take buildings public”
Startup LEX raises $15M to “take buildings public”
Boston Properties CEO Owen Thomas (Thomas by Axel Dupeux, iStock)
Boston Properties: Crime, Covid hindering urban office recovery
Boston Properties: Crime, Covid hindering urban office recovery
Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and President Jonathan Gray (Getty)
Blackstone reports “the most remarkable results in our history”
Blackstone reports “the most remarkable results in our history”
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...