The $236 million project on 125th Street and Park Avenue promised to bring 2,500 jobs and the first new major tourist hotel to Harlem since the Hotel Theresa closed its doors in 1966.
The envisioned Marriott, and the community-benefits agreement that came with it, fell through when the developer, Michael Caridi, sold his interest later in 2005 to Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate giant that controls 22 million square feet of space in Manhattan. Instead, a 21-story, 640,000 square foot office tower is planned and scheduled for completion sometime in 2009.
Harlem Park plans worry residents
Some lawmakers, though, worry that the new development is moving forward without the kind of community oversight that the original agreement had.
"It was the old bait and switch," said state Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan), who opposed the project when he was in the City Council. "These projects have to come through us to get the authority to build a certain height. Once we give them the authority and the project doesn't go through, the owner, without doing anything, has increased the value of the property, and they can sell it without going back to the council for approval."