Monday, July 14, 2008

Harlem Park shrinking

Just in time for the All Star Game comes word that MLB Network's proposed 125th Street tower is financially infeasible:

...according to real estate executives and city officials, Vornado’s inability to finance the $435 million project, known as Harlem Park, has delayed construction and is doing what critics who had complained about the tower’s size could not: reduce its height by about a third. That is in part because the developer seems to have had problems signing up other tenants for the building.

Vornado is now considering a revised plan for a 14-story building at 125th Street and Park Avenue and renegotiating its lease with Major League Baseball, the executives and officials said.

Developer Cuts Back on Plans for Tower to House Baseball’s Cable Network

It is the latest example of the difficulty developers have had in trying to borrow money for projects amid the national debt crisis, even projects that only a few months ago seemed to be on the fast track.

Still, the Bloomberg administration and the developer are intent on trying to move the baseball project forward. To that end, Vornado and Major League Baseball intend to use a raft of tax breaks, as well as tax-exempt financing.

“It’s like chickens coming home to roost,” said Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright of Harlem. “What the political forces couldn’t do, economic reality has forced upon them. Nobody wanted towering office buildings on 125th Street. We wanted it to reflect Harlem architecture.”

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