The eight acre parcel that sits at the south end of the area popularly known as Riverside South, an erstwhile train yard, has received the green signal from the City Council for redevelopment. They have unanimously agreed to the proposed idea of a mini city with five more apartment towers, parks, office towers, a school, and a hotel at this location. The move was hailed by Mayor Bloomberg and the Council’s approval was the last hurdle in way of rezoning the Hudson Yards site.
The parcel, also known as the Trump Place, was acquired by Donald Trump in the 1970s to build a wall of office towers. However, its use for residential purposes only came about in 1994 when the city was in recession. Trump, with his Chinese and Hong Kong partners got approval to build apartment towers along a new extension of Riverside Drive. This plan included a 21-acre waterfront park as well. Trump went on to build eight buildings which contained 2,900 apartments. These were a lot larger and significantly bulkier than the structures surrounding them. The south end of the project, however, was reserved exclusively for building a television studio.
The undeveloped land was grabbed by Mr. Barnett, President of Extell Development Company, and his partner, the Carlyle Group, in 2005 for a little less than $2 billion. Extell have already constructed four apartment houses and about 1,000 apartments in this parcel, which are sleeker and more appealing than the buildings built earlier.
With the City Council voting in favor of this project which, when completed, will be christened the Riverside Center, there will be more affordable housing to look forward to in New York. The plans are to build 2,500 apartments which are to be designed by Atelier Christian de Portzamparc. Extell is required to keep aside about 500 units, which include 220 apartments, for low income tenants. The proposal also calls for a 250-room hotel, a public plaza, a 2.76 acre park, 104,000 square feet of office space, and a K-8 public school. The construction of the last will be shared by the Department of Education as Extell.
Developer Gary Barnett commented “We’re going to see a very beautiful center for the neighborhood.” He further added enthusiastically, “It will be the capstone for the newest and most vibrant neighborhood in the city.” Work on this new project is not expected to begin before 2012.