By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A developer looking to build skyscrapers in Upper Manhattan met with a Community Board 12 committee Wednesday night to present its latest proposal.
Quadriad Realty Partners returned to the CB12 Land Use committee to continue a discussion regarding the group's plan to build a high-rise complex tentatively christened the "Tryon Center," located on Broadway near 190th Street. At between 23 and 42 stories tall, the buildings would be significantly taller than most existing buildings in Washington Heights.
The developer has proposed two development schemes.
The first one, dubbed the "New Strategy," would include four skyscrapers between 33 and 42 stories with 400 market rate and 200 "middle-income affordable housing" units, which would serve families of four that make between $40,000 to $100,000.
The second proposal, which the developer says can be built under as-of-right city zoning regulations, would not include any affordable housing and instead only offer market rate homes in a 28-story building on the east side of Broadway at 190th Street, and in a 22-story building on the west side of the street.
Both plans would include retail space and approximately 500 to 550 parking spaces, according to Quadriad president and CEO Henry Wollman, who also stressed that the project would not require public funding.
The time frame for either project is 24 months of construction, which would begin in late 2012 with a planned opening in 2014.
Quadriad responded Wednesday to questions submitted by members of the CB12 committee, which focused on the height of the buildings. The committee wanted a design that more closely matched the current architectural makeup of the surrounding Washington Heights area.
But Quadriad officials argued that alternative plans based on historic structures would "result in inferior housing and non-financeable-projects."
"Housing built to these past standards is not financially feasible, could not be financed or developed, and cannot be considered responsibly as a model with which to proceed with discussion," said Wollman.
Wollman also stressed that the proposed new design would bring much needed affordable housing to the community.
"In terms of losing neighborhood character," he said. "We would like to take into context the 200 units of affordable housing that would be built here that could not be built otherwise."
Many members of the community clamored for a more robust discussion of community concerns around the project, including environmental impact, strain on the local transportation system and the actual "affordability" of the affordable housing proposed.
Wayne Benjamin, chair of the land use committee, assured residents that CB12 is committed to continuing the conversation with Quadriad and will soon hold another meeting for community residents to get more answers on those issues. Benjamin also said the board's Health and Environment and Housing and Human Services would soon hold another community meeting on the subject.