Chelsea Market decision looms large over Quinn’s mayoral chances

Jamestown Properties’ Chelsea Market expansion plans persist as a thorn in the side of City Council Speaker, and mayoral hopeful, Christine Quinn, according to the New York Times. As Chelsea’s representative, Quinn can dictate the future of the proposal, and as has been widely speculated, the decision will be key to her own political future: she must weigh the interests of the community that propelled her to the forefront of city politics against the demands of business leaders whose support she needs to win an election.

“This is a defining moment for her,” said Michael Levine, a longtime Chelsea resident and Quinn supporter. “Chris Quinn needs to take a stand to show that she’s not just able to be bought off by corporate interests.”

Chelsea residents have repeatedly voiced concerns over the plans, believing it is out of context with the low-rise neighborhood and would further erode a residential community decimated by luxury high-rises and High Line tourists. “It’s become a real rallying cry,” said Community Board 4 Chairman Corey Johnson.

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But business leaders covet Jamestown’s proposed $250 million investment in the area, and the jobs the 240,000-square-foot office addition and 90,000-square-foot hotel addition would create. In fact, board members of the Friends of the High Line group and the Real Estate Board of New York have donated a combined $370,000 to her campaign and Jamestown has spent more than $670,000 lobbying to her and other officials.

“This is an opportunity to prove that she has the kind of leadership that I know she has,” REBNY President Steven Spinola said. “When you can say I’m supporting a project that doesn’t cost the city another dime, and generates new money, I think you can stand up pretty tall.” [NYT]