City Council may override local pol to approve Blood Center project

Chamber has yet to ignore “member deference” under Speaker Corey Johnson

New York /
Oct.October 07, 2021 01:15 PM
Council member Ben Kallos and renderings of the 67th street building (Getty, DBOX)

Council member Ben Kallos and renderings of the East 67th Street building (Getty, DBOX)

The Blood Center’s $750 million expansion might come to fruition despite local City Council member Ben Kallos, not because of him.

A Council hearing on the Upper East Side project is set for later this month following the City Planning Commission’s majority vote in favor of it. The City reports that final approval could be granted despite Kallos’ lack of support, as his rationale does not resonate with colleagues.

Kallos is set to leave his post at the end of the year because of term limits, as most members are. He is joined in his opposition by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and a coalition called “Stop the Tower” — although, at 16 stories, the project falls well short of “tower” status. They fear it would block natural light at nearby schools and parks, as well as create more commercial traffic.

However, Kallos is known in the City Council for not playing well in the sandbox.

He has thumbed his nose at other elected officials who take contributions from real estate interests, which has roiled fellow City Council members and led them to consider the Blood Center proposal despite his opposition. It would be the first rezoning to be approved without the local member’s blessing during Corey Johnson’s eight-year tenure as speaker. In fact, the last such instance may have been in 2009.

But Kallos is still negotiating with the Blood Center, The City reported.

The New York Blood Center has proposed the creation of a 600,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art life science hub. The Blood Center’s three-story headquarters would be replaced by a building 334 feet tall. New facilities would serve as offices and labs for the Blood Center in addition to other life science firms and partners. Essentially, the expansion, by Longfellow Real Estate Partners, would pay for the nonprofit Blood Center’s new digs.

[The City] — Holden Walter-Warner





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