BP Brewer opposes Lenox Terrace rezoning proposal

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has said no to a Lenox Terrace rezoning proposal that would allow five new 28-story mixed-used buildings to be erected at a Harlem complex.

The complex, located between 132nd and 135th Streets, is owned by the Olnick Organization and is already home to six 16 story towers and five one-story commercial buildings.

“There are few instances where a development the scale of the one proposed by Lenox Terrace Development Associates can be viewed as responsible,” Brewer said in a statement.

The BP’s decision comes roughly one month after Community Board 10 in Harlem rejected the project in order to protect the area’s history as an Africa-American community, making it the second community roadblock developers have faced.

The complex was built as part of slum-clearing project by Robert Moses. In 1958, after the first buildings on the block opened, the neighborhood then began to be referred to as an oasis for Black New Yorkers.

Under the proposal, the buildings would provide 1,600 unites of housing and 160,000 feet of retail space. About 400 of those units would be affordable units. As part of the proposal Olnick would create six acres of green space.

But Brewer rejected the proposal because of a lack of “adequate public and private investments” and that it “promised to change the physical and socioeconomic character of Central Harlem.”

In her recommendation, she laid out a few steps that Olnick could do to improve the proposal — including a submitting a long-term commitment to housing affordability and greater investment in public infrastructure, open spaces and schools, support for local entrepreneurs and small businesses and to limit commercial space to 10,000 square feet.

The commercial space limit could be exceeded if it occupied by a qualifying FRESH food store, Brewer added.

“We appreciate the input we have received from the Borough President and Community Board 10, and look forward to ensuring the proposal more fully aligns with their recommendations while continuing to make the case for the plan and the opportunities it will create,” said Tom Corsillo, spokesperson for The Olnick Organization, in an e-mail.

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