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Controversial WaHi Towers Delayed After Rival Developer Buys Land

By Nigel Chiwaya | September 12, 2013 3:39pm
 Quadriad is looking to build three towers of up to 30 stories on Broadway near 192nd Street.
Quadriad is looking to build three towers of up to 30 stories on Broadway near 192nd Street.
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Quadriad Realty

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A controversial plan to build a series of skyscrapers in Washington Heights is up in the air after a rival developer bought two of the buildings on the proposed future site, a city representative said Wednesday night.

Quadriad Realty's plan to get zoning changes to build up to three towers on both sides of Broadway near 192nd Street has been on hold for months, after HAP Investment Developers purchased two of the buildings on the proposed site: 4452 and 4454 Broadway, the city said.

Until Quadriad and HAP can come to an agreement, the development cannot proceed as planned.

"This is on hold right now, and it has been on hold since June," Department of City Planning spokesman Edwin Marshall told Community Board 12's Land Use Committee. "You can't rezone property you don't own."

Quadriad principal Henry Wollman told DNAinfo New York Thursday that he is in discussions with HAP about partnering on the development. He added that the project would move forward no matter what.

"We are trying to work those issues out with HAP," Wollman said. "If we can't, we will simply proceed with one site."

Whenever the issues are settled, Marshall said the next step for Quadriad would be to submit an environmental impact study. Marshall added that any application would likely not move forward until next year, because of the changing mayoral administration.

Quadriad's planned development would be built in two phases, with the first phase putting up two buildings of 25 to 28 stories just north of Gorman Park. In order to build that phase as currently planned, Quadriad would have to tear down 4452 and 4454 Broadway.

Community Board 12 voted against the towers two years ago, arguing that the buildings are too high and will not include enough units of affordable housing. The board is looking for a 50-50 split of affordable and market-rate units, however Wollman said that the company might not be able to go above 35 percent affordable housing, and would prefer to include just 30 percent.

Quadriad's latest numbers estimate that 194 of the first phase's 480 units would be affordable housing.

Wollman reiterated Thursday that he is willing to press on with a development at a smaller height if the zoning is not approved. However, the smaller development would not contain any units of affordable housing.

No matter what the plan winds up looking like, Wollman hopes to begin construction in the third quarter of 2014.

Wollman also said that he is not likely to make any further presentations to the community board until the development begins its land-use review process. Wollman, who made numerous presentations to the board in 2011, called those meetings a "waste of time."

"Without good will on [the] community board side, we will move forward in the way that most developers move forward," he said, "as opposed to the way that we would have liked to have done."