UPDATE: On June 21, 2017, the City Planning Commission the application from the New York City Education Construction Fund and AvalonBay Communities to redevelop a city block in East Harlem to be appropriate. The proposed development would shift the Marx Brothers Playground to the center of the block and facilitate the construction of two buildings at either end. The eastern building would rise eight stories and contain two public high school relocated from other sites. The western building would rise 63 stories and contain over one million square-feet of residential floor area and the Co-op Tech vocational school.
In its report, the Planning Commission noted the need for new public schools citywide and acknowledged that finding adequate sites and securing funding are major obstacles to addressing that need. The Commission stated that the new high schools would “increase the capacity of the existing overcrowded and outdated schools, allowing more students access to their programs.”
The Commission acknowledged public concern over height and uses of the proposed development. The applicant responded to these concerns by lower the proposed height of the skyscraper from 68 stories to 63 stories. The report noted that the School Construction Fund preferred buildings for new schools be five stories tall, and that the height of the tower would allow the eastern building to be at a height in line with that preference. The Commission also wrote that “there is ample light and air around the block . . . providing the site and neighboring properties with unobstructed light and air from the east.”
To read the previously published story, please click here.