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Go Back to the Drawing Board, Critics of Sherman Plaza Tell Developers

INWOOD – The developers of a controversial high-rise apartment building on Sherman Avenue and Broadway need to go back to the drawing board and build a lower project, residents said at a heated meeting Monday night.

Dozens of local residents gathered at the Town Hall Meeting on Monday night to weigh in on developers Washington Square Partners and Acadia Sherman Plaza's newly revised application for the Sherman Plaza project site on 4650 Broadway — which was shrunk down following earlier public criticism on the project.

At Monday's meeting, which was hosted by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, resident said the developers needed to do a better job of looking into the impact the building will have on the community, in terms of displacement of local tenants, as well as its environmental impact on increasing traffic and casting shadows on neighboring Fort Tryon Park.

"If we can't guarantee that any Inwood residents are going to have access to those units, then it doesn't matter," Jennifer Fox, who lives in the area, said at Monday night's meeting at the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, "Aren't we more concerned with the market rate housing, and what that is going to do to our community?"

Developers said that after the community board issued a resolution opposing the initial 23-story proposal in March, they met with Brewer and her team, as well as with City Planning, to respond to the comments from the community. Their revised plan features a shorter building, and also reduces the income cap on affordable units from 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) — or $62,150 per year for a family of three — to 40 percent of AMI, or $31,080 for a family of three.

The building project is the first individual project built under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rezoning, which promised to change zoning rules in some neighborhoods to make way for more affordable units.


Councilman Rodriguez said that everything should be on the table when it comes to the continuing discussion.

“I’m committed as you are to protect Ft. Tryon Park, and to get any developer coming to our community to build as lower as we can make them build. And also to get the best affordable percentage that we can get in this negotiation.”

Rodriguez and Brewer said although the developer had agreed to reduce the building's height from 23 to 17 floors, they were both working to bring the number lower — to 15 stories. Rodriguez said the developers seemed “open” to bringing down the height of the building.

The developers didn't reply to a request for comment.

The City Planning Commission is scheduled to have a hearing on the development on Wednesday, May 25 at 22 Reade St. starting at 10 a.m.

To watch a video of the meeting, click here: