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68-Story East Harlem Tower Would Have 1K Homes and New School Buildings

By Dartunorro Clark | December 15, 2016 5:03pm | Updated on December 16, 2016 5:52pm
 The development calls for retail space, a residential tower and two buildings for three local public schools.
The development calls for retail space, a residential tower and two buildings for three local public schools.
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DNAinfo/Dartunorro Clark

EAST HARLEM — Plans to build a 68-story tower in East Harlem have been laid out to the neighborhood's community board.

The developer plans to build a development which would include some affordable housing and a shop at 321 E. 96th Street, and is working with the city's Educational Construction Fund to rehab the School of Cooperative Technical Education, the Heritage School and Park East High School.

COOP Tech, which is already on the site, will get a new facility.

The two other schools, which are located nearby, will get a new building to share in the development.

The tower would have 1,100 rental units with 30 percent, or roughly 330 units, allotted to be permanently affordable. Ten percent of those units will be available to households earning 40 percent of the area median income or below and the rest of the units will be affordable to those averaging 60 percent of the AMI. 

What is AMI?

The plan calls for about 1.3 million square feet of development, with about 270,000 for the schools and a million for the residential towers. The development is bound by First and Second avenues and 96th and 97th streets.

Jennifer Maldonado, the executive director of the ECF, which works with the Department of Education, said the organization chose developers AvalonBay through a competitive bidding process.

She said the new development will bring much-needed resources to all three school, particularly the space needed for the different vocations at COOP Tech.

Members of Community Board 11's Land Use Committee raised some concerns at the meeting about how the hiring for the construction and development would be rolled out, urging developers to hire more non-union local residents, which they agreed to consider.

Principals and students from all three schools attended the meeting and said new space is desperately needed. In Park East, for instance, students are cramped in halls and their lunch room doubles as a gymnasium, officials said.

The project also calls for rehabbing the local playground on the site, which will give the schools and the community open space.

The project still has a long way to go. All three schools are slated to open at the new development sometime between 2021 and 2022 and the residential towers by 2023.

The developers would also need zoning requests, special permits and certificates approved. The plan also has to go through the full community board and the City Council during the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.