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After Council pact, Trump confident.

With the television studio of Riverside South put aside for now, and an agreement to kick in another half-million dollars for community programs, Donald J. Trump is ever confident.

Trump last week won a crucial City Council Land Use Committee's approval and vowed he is eager to shepherd an alternate plan through the review process.

"We'll be announcing a plan for the studio space over the next couple of months," Trump said, "We're looking at something that's very good and very generic for the site."

Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger had suggested the studio portion of the plan be replaced by an Olympic training facility.

"We are interested in pursuing it somewhere down the line," said Messinger spokesperson Andrew Breslau. The Trump organization has expressed interest in it, he said, adding that it is by no means "a dead horse."

Breslau noted that the city has no regulation indoor swimming pool or indoor track facilities of a world-class nature.

Other suggestions circulating in the development community include golf courses and driving ranges; and amusement park called Trumpworld complete with virtual reality rides; and other entertainment oriented complexes on the order of Westchester's Sportland, USA.

Once envisioned as a headquarters for NBC, the space had gone tenantless and was a bone, as another developer put it, that Trump could afford to give back to the Council. Queens lawmakers, including Council Speaker Peter Vallone, had expressed concerns about competition with the Silvercup Studios, as well.

A City Council subcommittee overwhelmingly approved the Riverside South plan without the television studio component by a 12 to 2 vote, with Members C. Virginia Fields and Tom Duane casting the "no" votes. A subsidiary committee had recommended the plan a day earlier, 4 to 0 with Fields, the chairperson, abstaining. The full 51-member Council is expected to approve the project by a majority on Dec. 17.

Trump was left with the option of bringing a new plan for the studio site through the entire ULURP process at another time. This echoed what the Planning Commission told him when they knocked out 300,000 square feet from the studio superblock design a month ago.

Because the size of the studio facility would change to 1.69 million square feet and its proximity to the Con Ed smokestacks, the Commission believed environmental studies would be necessary.

While the developer has been critical of the review process, on the day after his Council Committee victory he expressed a willingness to try again.

The Council Committee approved the rezoning for the entire 7.9 million-square-foot project and gave the go ahead for the 5,700 apartment units that are envisioned to rise along the extended Riverside Drive eastward to Freedom Place as well as 110,000 square feet of commercial space that includes the movie theaters.

Current West Side residents, particularly those with unobstructed views, have expressed concern about the additional residents as well as the expected loss in value of their co-op apartments.

The Council's Land Use Review Committee also created an oversight board consisting of three people appointed by the Mayor and two by the City Council. "This was very unusual," said Council spokesperson Anne-Marie Ninivaggi. "They thought it necessary because it was so large and there will be so many developers and contractors. This will ensure it's all coordinated."

Trump has expressed a desire to sell some of the lots to other developers who will be restricted by many design and other constraints as well as unusual costs. The Riverside South Planning Corp. is expected to proceed with design guidelines for what was approved.

Each of the development lots will be allocated certain shares of the project costs such as park maintenance, infrastructure, and contributions to subway and rail yards.

In this last go-around, the Council-members extracted $300,000 that will go to senior citizen and youth programs to be distributed through the local community boards and $200,000 for minority job training together with a promise to use city goals of 20 percent minority and women-owned businesses when giving out contracts.

All of this, former City Planning Commission Commissioner Sylvia Deutch, called "legalized extortion."

One attorney, familiar with the project, said the money for the senior and youth programs was a real stretch and was surprised the Council would request these items. Normally, he said, there has to be a "constitutional nexus" to money asked of the developer. He said if pushed, the Council might be hard-pressed in court to prove such a link.

The committee did agree, however, that the city will conduct a study of the capacity of the North River Sewer Treatment Plant. Should it not be capable of handling the increased load from Riverside South, the city will construct a pumping plant on site to move the effluent to the treatment plant a Ward's Island.

Trump will have six and one-half years to construct the shell of at least one building, a year less than what the Planning Commission had given him but far more than the three years available under a special permit. An additional year will be given should there be a sewage problem.

Larry Silverstein, who hosted Riverside South architect David Childs and Trump Organization executive vice president Andrew Weiss during his New York University real estate financing workshop, said "Trump is doing the city, in my judgement, an incredible favor."

As to the project's viability, Silverstein indicated that will be determined by the return to a normal economy including the availability of financing.

"They didn't take that much off the table," Trump said. "The real issue is what makes economic sense."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:real estate developer Donald Trump wins approval from New York, New York City Council Land Use Committee for Riverside South project
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 2, 1992
Words:933
Previous Article:New retail center reaches 100% occupancy in NJ.
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