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City council to vote on Riverside South.

The New York City Council Land Use Committee expected this week to make its recommendations for Riverside South, Donald Trump's largest and most hotly debated endeavor to date. Any changes would have to be cleared with the Planning Commission before the full Council votes on Dec. 17.

The City Council sub-committee on Permits, Dispositions and Concessions, chaired by C. Virginia Fields, a Harlem Democrat, was to get its shot at the 7.9 million-square-foot project on Monday, and headed by June M. Eisland of the Bronx, the Land Use Committee, was scheduled to make its suggestions to the 51-member Council on Tuesday. Sources expect the full Council to give the okay to Trump after certain modifications that could, some say, affect the project's chances for financial success to some degree.

Any changes would have to pass through the Planning Commission in order to ensure compliance within the scope of the project. For example, the Council could not suggest adding a heliport since the effects of such an addition were not discussed in any of the environmental impact statements.

What they could do, however, is insist on an on-site sewage treatment plant, something developer Donald J. Trump said would "kill" the project. This alternative had been one of several proposed by the civic groups that make up the Riverside South Planning Commission, which Trump heads. Other ideas included retrofitting area plumbing with lowflow fixtures and building a bioaquatic facility, dropped because the technology is still imperfect.

The sewage issue has haunted the project, even though Environmental Commissioner Albert F. Appleton has insisted the North River facility, currently the subject of odor mitigation improvements, would have no problem handling the effluent from Riverside South's 5,700 apartments. Council-member Fields, whose constituents overlook and smell North River, is said to be opposed to any addition to the volume at that site.

One insider familiar with the Council's thinking, said concessions have to be made and the building's size and height will have to be scaled down further from the current maximum of 490 feet high and 105 feet in width. Under the design plan, however, only a handful of the 16 major buildings are expected to have towers that tall, and the project's FAR of 4 is one of the lowest of any major development.

This insider believes the project will pass nonetheless, especially because it has the mayor's support. "It will bring jobs in and it will be the first real development in the city," the insider explained as the reason for the expected passage.

The draft environmental impact statement looked at a 7.7 million-square-foot project as a smaller alternative and found such a project would generate approximately $492 million less in construction related activity than the 8.3 million-square-foot project under consideration in May, including 800 fewer permanent jobs. It also stated other impacts would be similar to the larger project, including the impact to the sewer treatment plant although use of the park would decrease.

West Siders are eager to have a hand in the management of the park and others are calling for a public authority to oversee the construction of the entire Riverside South, which is actually a tremendous subdivision. Neither of those is likely to be decided at this juncture.

Project costs have been inflated from eight years of carrying costs, legal and architectural fees, and associated site preparation and building expenses. Many of the costs are not normally associated with putting up a building elsewhere, such as contributions to the subway, the Harlem rail yards and park maintenance into perpetuity.

One banker overseeing the project's ULURP process warned, however, that any changes the Council makes will be even worse for Riverside South's bottom line.
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Title Annotation:New York, New York City Council Land Use Committee to make recommendations for real estate development project planned by Donald Trump
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Nov 25, 1992
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