Related holds UES park hostage in return for tax breaks

Stephen Ross, chairman of the Related Companies, and Ruppert playground

Related Companies has locked down the popular Ruppert playground, a one-acre park squeezed between two skyscrapers spanning 92nd to 93rd streets and Second to Third avenues on the Upper East Side, holding it hostage until the city agrees to give it several million dollars in tax breaks for an adjoining rental property, Carnegie Park, the New York Post reported.

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Related purchased the site from the city for $10 million in 1983 under a plan to revive the area. Per the agreement, the company had to maintain the park through June 2008, but has kept it clean and safe until now. It will return the park to the ownership of the city if granted the tax breaks, the Post said.

City Council member Daniel Garodnick said that Related had said it “had a meeting with the city, and had explored the possibility of working out a deal to keep the playground open in exchange for a either a tax incentive or some benefit from the city. Apparently, there was no interest.” [Post]

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