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Rec Center to Be Renovated After $5.6M Hudson Square Concession Deal

By Andrea Swalec | January 24, 2013 9:21am

MANHATTAN — Some West Side residents who wanted a Downtown developer to upgrade recreation space in Hudson Square in exchange for a major rezoning of the area got their wish Wednesday, when Trinity Real Estate announced it would donate $5.6 million to the city Parks Department.

The City Planning Commission approved Trinity's plan to transform formerly industrial Hudson Square into a mixed-use neighborhood, and announced the company had committed funds earmarked for use at the aging Tony Dapolito Recreation Center and elsewhere in the neighborhood.

"Improvements to the Dapolito Center will significantly expand its capacity, increase year-round accessibility and appeal to a wide range of users," Department of City Planning commissioner Amanda Burden said in a statement.

A Trinity spokesman confirmed news of the donation and said the open space "mitigation" was determined with the CPC and Parks Department.

At multiple hearings leading up to the commission's decision, residents of Hudson Square and the West Village told Trinity the area — which is roughly bound by West Houston Street, Sixth Avenue, Canal Street and Greenwich Street — needed more open space to accommodate the residents of as many as 3,200 new apartments.

But Community Board 2 chairman David Gruber said he would have preferred for Trinity to construct a new public recreation center in Duarte Square, where the company is planning to build residences, a school and a public park.

"Monies from Trinity need to mitigate for the population that's going to go into Hudson Square, not fund the Dapolito Center, which is a city-run facility," Gruber said, noting that the rec center, located on Clarkson Street just north of West Houston Street, actually falls within the borders of the West Village.

The Parks Department did not immediately provide details on the planned renovations for Dapolito or the timeline for the repairs.

The CPC's approval, which accepted the reduced maximum building height of 290 feet that Trinity suggested in November, will be reviewed by City Council for final approval within the next 50 days.