FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG BREAKS GROUND FOR MULTI-LEVEL PARKING AND RETAIL PROJECT IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS
Project Will Create 100 Construction and 50 Permanent Jobs
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today broke ground on a new multi-level parking garage at 4320 Broadway between 184th and 185th Streets. Washington Heights Parking LLC was chosen to acquire and develop a 108,000-square-foot parking facility with approximately 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail including a Staples and a bank. The project is a result of a Request for Proposals issued by New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to develop critically needed additional parking in the area. The City-owned site had been operated as a parking lot for ten years with capacity of about 100 cars. The $12 million development will more than triple the number of parking spaces to alleviate what had become a serious problem to residents and local businesses. In addition, the project will create over 100 construction jobs and about 50 permanent jobs. Councilmember Miguel Martinez, José Espinal of Washington Heights Parking LLC, and George Sanchez of the Washington Heights Business Improvement District joined the Mayor on site for the groundbreaking.
"Our Administration's economic development policy is creating jobs across all five boroughs, and this new parking garage and retail development is another terrific example," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This $12 million project will help businesses in Washington Heights to grow, as the site is strategically located near the 181st Street commercial corridor, the George Washington Bridge Port Authority Station and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. I am pleased that the City is able to work with a developer, Jose Espinal, who lived in the area for many years and also has an office in Washington Heights. We're making all our communities including Washington Heights, more livable, more business-friendly, and more economically diverse."
"New York City's continuing recovery from the recent financial hardships will require that all parts of the City experience economic boosts," said Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. "That's why I am pleased that the Washington Heights community will reap the many benefits of having this new, multi-level parking garage and its accompanying business establishments there. This is a win-win situation on all levels, most especially community residents and businesses."
"This is the first project to be constructed in the area in over 20 years that will stimulate the local economy," said Councilmember Miguel Martinez. "It will provide the local area additional businesses, such as the Staples store, and also will provide the parking necessary to attract shoppers to buy in a local business district."
"This new facility will more than triple the parking spaces previously available on the site, and the new Staples is exactly what the community requested for the project," said EDC President Alper. "This project illustrates the Bloomberg Administration's commitment to bringing new development and job opportunities to all New York communities, and is a wonderful example of the City, community and the local developer working together for the good of all to bring this much-needed parking and retail facility to the area."
"As a part of the Washington Heights community for over 20 years, I am very pleased to be part of this important project that will mean so much to the business community and residents as well," said Jose Espinal. "We are working to ensure that the project creates jobs for local and minority union labor. The parking garage operators and Staples will also be encouraged to hire from within the community. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and EDC for providing me the opportunity to give back to my community in the form of this much-needed and long-awaited parking facility."
Washington Heights Parking LLC is owned by Jose Espinal, who is also President of ET Management & Realty Corp., a real estate development company that has been in operation in Washington Heights for over 10 years. The architect for the project is Feder & Stia and the construction manager is J & B Construction. Universal Parking Group Ltd will operate the parking garage, and the facility will contain spaces for about 325 cars at short-term, overnight and monthly parking rates.
ET Management & Realty Corp. has rehabilitated and manages more than 30 buildings in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) have also selected the firm for its Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program. In conjunction with HPD, ET Management will also rehabilitate and manage eight additional City-owned residential buildings in Upper Manhattan.
In keeping with the Administration's commitment to improve neighborhoods in all five boroughs, EDC and a number of other City-agencies sponsored a public planning workshop to solicit ideas about how development of the nearby Sherman Creek area should proceed. Real estate professionals, planners, local residents, elected officials and business leaders attended the workshop. Sherman Creek is an underdeveloped area in the Washington Heights/Inwood section of Upper Manhattan. The full-day workshop, like others that have been held in other neighborhoods, was intended to help the area realize its potential as a vibrant waterfront community, with a mix of residential and commercial development, including new recreational uses.
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Michael Sherman / Janel Patterson (EDC)