By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A long-stalled real estate development project on Bennett Avenue is seeing new signs of life, according to residents and the developer.
Ruddy Thompson, president of Thompson Development Group, confirmed construction is set to begin again at One Bennett Park, the development that was halted in 2009, because funding dried up.
Thompson did not provide further details about the future of the project located at 33-55 Overlook Terrace, but residents said that the site has been buzzing with activity over the past several days.
Approximately three years ago, 60 feet of bedrock was removed to make way for a 23-story, 114-unit apartment complex that was originally slated to open in 2009.
But since construction halted that summer, all that has remained is a hole in the ground and a displaced congregation from a local Jewish center, which had originally been promised a new space in exchange for the right to build a condo entrance on Fort Washington Avenue.
The Fort Tryon Jewish Center is now sharing a space with the Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation in Washington Heights, but could not be reached by telephone.
A lawsuit between the banks that originally funded the $95 million deal is still being duked out in court.
Community Board 12 chair Pamela Palanque-North said she was excited to hear that construction will soon move forward, but said she first hopes to meet with Thompson to make sure no changes to the original development plans have been made.
Palanque-North said the community and board spent much time at the beginning of the project addressing safety and noise concerns and need to know that the same agreements brokered in the past would remain.
In 2008, residents complained of little to no soundporrofing during the removal of bedrock to make way for the development, according to the New York Times and said the work had become a public nuisance.
"We need to be talking about this site and what he is really going to do with it since it’s been so long," she said. "We've heard he was going to do things in the past and nothing has happened."