Sunday, January 18, 2009

Public-private partnership for new schools

From NY1:

The southwest corner of 57th and Second Avenue is dominated by two low lying buildings -- PS 59 and the High School of Art and Design. Above the schools, blue skies that had developers seeing the potential for green.

In order to unlock that space, the World-Wide Group teamed up with the city in a deal that includes three new public schools. The first is the new PS 59 located a few blocks away.

"In a certain sense, it was like a missing tooth in the development of the Upper East Side," said David Lowenfeld, Executive Vice President, World-Wide Holdings.

Then comes the private part of this public private partnership -- a 59-story residential tower with retail space below, including a Whole Foods supermarket.

"Normally if the city built the public school building it would pay for itself directly. But in this case we're using the income being provided by the developer to pay for the cost of the school building," said Smarr.

"I think that what the city gets out of it is both new facilities that meet the needs of their student body going into the future. And it also gets a stream of revenue going into the future," said Lowenfeld.


Mr. Angry said...

I went to Art & Design, and as you can imagine I'm very not pleased.

This is beyond disgusting - to call A&D 'the missing tooth of the upper east side'. Absolutely disgusting. That building should be landmarked immediately. I can't count the number of famous artists that went to Art & Design.

For them to claim this is some great thing for the city is ridiculous.

Lino said...

These are solid 1950s buildings that were updated in the 1990s, for superior to the junk that a private developer will produce.

The article mentions that this program was last used in 1980 what they don't mention is why:
During the 70s a number of these cheaply made schools were constructed in the basements and lower levels of high rise condo/office towers. The program was constantly plagued by poor construction quality and finally collapsed when it was revealed that several district school superintendents had taken bribes from these developers in exchange for their backing.

Here in district two Charles Wilson was forced out and indicted for his actions in backing (among others) a plan to replace PS190 (82st bet 2nd and 1st) with some pos in a basement of a tower.

The proposed "school" had only -one exit!-

Its really a disgrace that my city's leaders seem to feel it necessary to fill every (slightly) open space with some profiteer's edifice.