Manhattan Borough president rejects Blood Center proposal

The city Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on the Blood Center proposal on Thursday.

  • 05:09 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    Community Board 8 is holding a special meeting tonight to continue the discussion on whether to recommend construction of the controversial New York Blood Center tower on East 67th Street.

  • 05:25 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    The proposal has drawn the ire of many in the neighborhood that argue the 334' tower would set a dangerous precedent.

  • 05:25 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    At the heart of the issue: The precedent set by allowing a high-rise to be built mid-block (they’re usually just allowed on avenues on the UES). Also a concern: the shadow the building would cast on St. Catherine’s Park.

  • 06:42 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    First up: @NYBloodCenter is asked about its partnership with developer Longfellow on the NYBC tower. The developer is the “leading nationwide life-science developer,” says Robert Purvis, EVP & chief of staff of the Center.

  • 06:46 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    Q: Without rezoning, will NYBC leave the city? A (Robert Purvis, EVP & chief of staff): If zoning were not approved - “the Blood Center would need to reevaluate all of our options.”

  • 06:55 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    Land use atty Paul Selver (part of the Blood Center team) says there are 2 reasons the Blood Center wanted to stay on the UES: - NYBC is currently near world-class life-science institutions - These institutions have history of working together

  • 08:33 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    Community Board members are entering the 2nd hour of grilling the team behind the NY Blood Center tower. "The community is clearly against this," CB member Ed Hartzog said.

  • 08:47 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    CB member Craig Lader said he can’t support the project. But he balked at the argument that the project should be tossed out because the city is too overdeveloped: “Manhattan was built to be densely developed,” he said. “We can accommodate growth.”

  • 09:00 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    Q: "Is this a done deal?" A (NYBC atty Paul Selver): "It’s not a done deal. We’re in a process. We’re in a public process."

  • 10:12 PM ET - 5/25/2021
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    The community board voted to oppose the NY Blood Center tower -- 38- 0 with 1 abstaining

  • 05:30 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (@galeabrewer) is holding a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the NY Blood Center tonight. #UES

  • 05:38 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    *RECAP*: The @NYBloodCenter is proposing to re-zone its block (East 67th St) to allow for a mid-block high-rise. PRO: The expansion would be a boon to the city as it vies to become a life-sciences hub 🔬 AGAINST: Allowing a high-rise to be built mid-block would set a dangerous precedent for the neighborhood 🏢

  • 06:09 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    [email protected] opens the meeting, acknowledging the controversy. “It’s not just the height. ...Mid-block zoning is not necessarily something we want to tamper with. And we’re also concerned about the park, St. Catherine’s Park." (At issue: The shadow cast by the building on the park_

  • 06:15 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    “This tower is illegal,” says City Council member Ben Kallos (@kallos) #UES #BloodCenter. "Ultimately, this is about zoning for dollars."

  • 06:20 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    [email protected] just closed with a quote from Gandalf... yes, THAT Gandalf. "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass!"

  • 06:25 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Rep. Carolyn Maloney (@RepMaloney) says the @nybloodcenter needs to "go back to the drawing board" on the proposal: "I strongly oppose" the current plan.

  • 06:30 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    NY Blood Center attorney Paul Selver says the building would: - Provide a new state-of the art home for the Center - Create a world-class life-sciences cluster in NYC - Generate well paying jobs #BloodCenter #UES

  • 06:42 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Rachel Levy of @friendsoftheues says the building will be "out of context" in the neighborhood #BloodCenter #UES. "Zoning shouldn't be used to subsidize a private organization."

  • 06:46 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Russell Squire, chair of @CB8M, says the #BloodCenter proposal has remained “completely unchanged” from the plan the board saw last fall -- despite multiple opportunities to address community concern.

  • 06:50 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Justice Favor, of @local79nyc, says he supports the #BloodCenter — and its work on sickle cell disease, which is predominant among Black New Yorkers “I believe that the good will outweigh the bad.”

  • 06:56 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    [email protected], nominee (D) for City Council District 5, says the #BloodCenter should look elsewhere -- and the community needs a voice. “I’m honestly shocked that the Blood Center keeps presenting the exact same proposal at every meeting."

  • 07:00 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    So far, officials who have spoken out tonight against the new #BloodCenter on the #UES: @kallos @SeawrightForNY @RepMaloney @JulieMenin @CB8M @KeithPowersNYC

  • 07:05 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Opponent of the #BloodCenter Marty Bell calls the construction “soulless.” He notes: 🗽Statue of Liberty - 305’ 🏗️ Proposed Blood Center - 334'

  • 07:10 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    David Melton, a @local79nyc member, says he supports the project — “the developers have committed to building with union labor.”

  • 07:15 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    NOTE: A big theme at tonight's hearing -- many of those speaking in *support* of the #BloodTower are suggesting w/o evidence that opponents of the project want to “keep people out of the UES” -- specifically immigrants and underrepresented groups

  • 07:20 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Duane Townes of @local79nyc pointed to what he says are disparities among neighborhoods: "I live in Harlem. If they came to my hood to build, I would even have to move to a place where sunshine is or, guess what? Not have no sunshine. It’s unfair. It’s ugly. But it’s the reality."

  • 07:45 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Community Board member Tricia Shimamura (@Tricia4NYC) described St. Catherine’s Park as a “magical respite" — and expressed concern about the shadows cast by the high-rise over the space. #BloodTower #UES

  • 07:50 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Valerie Mason, President of the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association and opponent of the project, scrapped her speech and addressed members of @local79nyc: "A commercial developer is trying to pit New Yorkers against each other.” “We think if you look at the project that has been put forth as an alternative … you will see there are tons of union jobs to be had."

  • 07:54 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    Sinade Wadsworth, of Local 157, says she believes the #BloodCenter project is “crucial for our city’s economic recovery.” She also addressed tension b/n workers & community tonight: “We’re not here against the community. We are the community.”

  • 08:23 PM ET - 7/12/2021
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    And... that's a wrap for the public hearing hosted by the Manhattan Borough president on the #BloodCenter. Next steps: Manhattan Borough President Office (@galeabrewer decides whether to recommend) —> City Planning Board —> City Council

  • 10:21 AM ET - 7/29/2021
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    UPDATE: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer made her official recommendation to the city on Wednesday -- asking officials to *reject* the Blood Center Proposal. Her main concerns: - The adverse impact on "the residential character" of the area - The proposed building size ("far too large") - The precedent it would set for mid-block zoning - The shadow the proposed structure would cast on St. Catherine's Park - The impacts of shadows and construction noise on students at the Julia Richmond Education Complex

  • 10:22 AM ET - 7/29/2021
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    The full text of Brewer's recommendation can be found here:

    www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov
  • 10:25 AM ET - 7/29/2021
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    The borough president's recommendation is just that: A non-binding recommendation. But it does carry weight in the process. The proposal now heads to the city's Planning Commission.