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Thursday, April 4, 2013

See our Coverage in the West Side Rag


New efforts are underway to stop or slow the process of demolishing two local public schools so that developers can build high-rises with new schools in their place.
Parents and local residents near PS 199, on West 70th street, have been especially active trying to stop the plans. And State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell has introduced a new bill that would make the city use a public process to get the developments approved.
First, some background: months ago, the city put out a“request for expressions of interest” (RFEI) to developers asking them if they were interested in building new high-rises on land that currently houses PS 199 on 70th street and PS 191 on 61st street, as well as a third school on the Upper East Side. The Department of Education didn’t tell parents at the school that it was doing this. The new buildings built on the sites following demolition of the current schools would have new public schools inside them, paid for using tax-exempt bonds backed by taxpayer funds. Lease payments from developers would help fund the bond payments, meaning the city would presumably spend much less money than if the school was built using just public money.
According to drawings, parts of the new schools would be located underground — at PS 199, part of the school would be on the same level as the building’s parking garage. The residential portion of the building on 70th could be as tall as 34 stories, or 46 stories with a special permit. At the one on 61st, the building could be 20 stories, or 36 with a special permit.

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