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Locals Push Trinity to Ensure More Open Space in Hudson Square Plan

By Andrea Swalec | October 8, 2012 6:41am

HUDSON SQUARE — The Downtown real estate company seeking city approval to transform the former manufacturing district of Hudson Square into a more residential neighborhood says they have plans to create additional park space in the neighborhood — but some frustrated local residents say the company needs to give more.

Trinity Real Estate has identified five locations of "targeted open space," said Carl Weisbrod, a consultant for the company and its former president, at a recent community meeting.

But Trinity owns only one of the offered spots: the block on the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Canal Street, where the large property owner is planning to build residences, a 444-seat school and a public park.

For the other four locations, Trinity is proposing to collaborate with their property owners, which include the city Department of Transportation and the Port Authority, to develop them into open spaces.

These locations are Freeman Plaza, which is located west of Varick Street above the mouth of the Holland Tunnel; SoHo Square, the narrow park west of Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to Broome Street; the three blocks of Spring Street between Hudson Street and the Hudson River; and Port Authority parking lots located on the southeast corner of Hudson and Spring streets.

It was not immediately clear what arrangements Trinity had made or planned to make with the property owners.

Weisbrod said the company — which owns more than 40 percent of property in the 18-block area roughly bounded by West Houston Street, Sixth Avenue, Canal Street and Greenwich Street — is limited in its park space options by existing buildings.

"We live in an urban environment, and the entire area is already built-up," he explained.

Some residents said they want Trinity to instead convert a lot the company owns into a park or create an indoor recreation center.

"This community board is upset, frankly, and concerned that we're going to have a residential community with no open space," Community Board 2 chairman David Gruber said. "This all feels like a lot of smoke and mirrors to us."

Weisbrod said Trinity would continue to work with residents and elected officials as the company proceeds through the city's seven-month-long rezoning review procedure.

"Trinity has been in this community for 300 years, and we're going to be here another 300," he said. "Nobody wants this neighborhood to be more committed to being a happy community than we do."