By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Public advocate Bill de Blasio has joined the chorus of officials calling on Extell Development Company to build a school at its proposed Riverside Center development on the Upper West Side.
In de Blasio's official statement on Riverside Center, the five-tower development Extell wants to build, he said he's lending "conditional support" to the project — but only if Extell provides 150,000 square feet of school space on the site.
"There is a crying need for a large school on the Upper West Side," de Blasio said in his statement.
"We must use the City Council process to hold the city and developer accountable for providing the full 150,000 square feet of school space. If this key element of the project is not fulfilled, I will revisit my support."
The City Council is expected to vote on Riverside Center before the end of the year. The development won the approval of the city Planning Commission earlier this week.
Riverside Center would bring thousands of new residents to the area, and locals worry about the impact the project would have on the Upper West Side's already crowded schools.
Extell has said it will pay for the outer shell of a 75,000-square-foot school, but officials say that's not enough. Community Board 7 and Borough President Scott Stringer have asked Extell to build a 150,000 square foot, six section K-8 school.
Extell president Gary Barnett said a Planning Commission hearing last month that building an entire school could cost $35 to $40 million, and that adding too many costs to Riverside Center would make the development too expensive to build.
The development company wants to build Riverside Center on an eight-acre piece of land between West 59th Street, West 61st Street, West End Avenue and Riverside Boulevard.