JREC Needs Your Help!

Item: Blood Center's proposal to allow the construction of a 33 floor building at their current site across the street on 67th Street (in front of JREC's main entrance)

What can our MIHS Community do to help? For now, please sign and share this petition! https://nonewbloodbank.com

Background information:

  • New York Blood Center proposal to rezone the site to allow the construction of a 334-foot-tall building, The Blood Center is located in the mid-block, (66-67 st) zoned R8B- residential use where the height limit is 75 feet, and it proposes to rezone the site to allow the construction of a 16-story, 334-foot-tall building, their request includes 4 different changes in zoning. The Blood Center has partnered with a commercial developer Longfellow who will rent out the space above the first 5 stories. The Blood Center will occupy the 1st 5 floors.

  • Voices of the residents in the neighborhood are (unsurprisingly) nearly unanimously opposed. There are neighborhood organizations, attorneys representing coop boards, planners, and residents who are doing research on the impacts of this horrible proposal, very upset about the last minute and vulture-like actions of these developers.

  • The CB8 Manhattan Zoning and Development Committee is framing this as a zoning issue beyond the scope of this one block; they said they are only an advisory board with no real power, and that we all need to organize with elected officials and across other neighborhoods to stop this project, which sets a dangerous precedent for others like it. They already compiled the public comments from the previous November meeting and sent them to the New York Blood Center and elected officials.

  • Points made in opposition at the CB8 Meeting:

    • Dangerous, multi-year construction project (accidents and pollutants) near to 2000 children

    • Proposed mid-block rezoning for a tower sets dangerous precedent for the entire city ("the only thing between us and chaos in NYC is zoning") and puts other NYC residential blocks in jeopardy

    • Enormous footprint of the building to the south of JREC will block light across E 67th Street side of JREC ALL DAY

    • Completed project will cast shadows from 1pm onward across the entire St Catherine's Park and play yard

    • Clearly a commercial real estate venture, NOT "for the public good"

    • Longfellow (developer), not the NY Blood Bank, will own the majority of the building and rent it out for profit to commercial tenant.

    • A board member stated that the NY Blood Center does not have the capital to do the renovation on its own, and is using this "partnership" to fund their expansion; they have spent their capital acquiring smaller blood banks (!)

    • If this were only about blood banking, there are other options in the NYC "Life Sciences" zone that could be used instead

    • More precedent setting: there is a rash of non-profits in the Upper East Side area trying to change zoning using their work in the public interest to rezone for commercial profits

    • Many speakers spoke about the impact on the park and the children in JREC, surrounding schools, and quality of life of the neighborhood in general

    • Medical complex takeover: there were several comments about the pattern of medical complexes that take over neighborhoods

    • Conclusion: The Committee voted to oppose the project, with most against it; there was one abstention. It now goes to the full CB8 board.

    • Next Steps:

      • Public Comment on at Public Scoping Meeting by NYC Dept of Planning 12/15 @2pm: Meeting Information (Scroll down)

      • NYBC Proposal (Note on page 14 they say they are going from a building population of 230 to 2630, among other things)

      • Public Comment at full board meeting 12/16: On Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 @ 6:30pm the full board will meet and vote on the resolution to oppose the project

      • There are 50 members of the full board; this zoning committee really wants the public to sign up for 2 minutes comment time and share our opposition

      • They recommend looking at this information about zoning beforehand

      • Connect with neighborhood organizers: To join email list that the CB8 zoning committee will share with neighborhood organizers fill out this form ( I propose Josh, as bldg manager? so it all goes to one person?)

      • Join the Facebook group, "East Siders for Responsible Zoning" https://www.facebook.com/groups/724333185131388

      • Resend another emphatic letter from JREC Building Council to the Zoning Committee and to elected officials

    • The meetings are recorded, so here it is on their YouTube channel (!); don't miss all the great presentations and slides at the beginning!

What can our MIHS Community do to help? For now, please sign and share this petition! https://nonewbloodbank.com