Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is Battery Park City coming to the Upper West Side of Manhattan?

I have been reading a few different articles and on-line postings regarding the development of a specific tract of land on the Upper West Side/Lincoln Square area near the Hudson River. Here are my findings.

Once known as Trump City, Extell Development Co. has finally unveiled their plans for Riverside Center. The plan is said to resemble Battery Park City rather than the West Side and stretches from 59th to 61st St.

The proposed area is currently a couple of parking lots. These parking lots would be transformed into a mega complex of 3.3 million-square-feet. The plan will involve 5 glass towers of residential condominiums, retail space, hotel space, possible movie theatre, possible auto showroom, possible elementary school, parking, and over 3 acres of privately owned open space. The glass towers ranging in heights of 45-59 stories will be designed by Pritzker-winning Christian de Portzamparc. An estimated completion of the project is in 2018.

The plan is still in a development stage needing approval of the City Council and City Planning Commission. When Extell Co gave the Upper West Side Community a preview of its plans there was considerable disapproval.

Being an Upper West Side resident myself and understanding the area involved in this massive project, I think this development would add considerably to the area. There isn't a whole lot going on in that part of the West Side, a lack of restaurants, entertainment, services, subway access. An area based on Battery Park City would be a huge improvement. Riverside Park is a terrific area and the open space of Riverside Center could really pull together that whole stretch.

A lot of the resistance has focused on what community services will be added to support the site. Will Extell develop the schools, community services to provide the needed infrastructure because of the growth of people and families that will be occupying the apartment towers?

Battery Park City is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in New York City and if Riverside Park closely resembled it the aesthetic value of the West Side would improve. I do agree that the infrastructure of the area would also have to be considered and planned for because of the number of people moving into the neighborhood. If done correctly there would be considerable improvement to the Upper West Side neighborhood and would give a lot of first time apartment buyers an excellent place to live. This project still seems to be in the early stages and much back and forth between Extell, the city, and the neighborhood will occur. (photo source: provided by Extell via NYC DCP)

Let me know what you think of this development!


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