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Legal barrier lifted for Hunter's Point.

Legal barrier lifted for Hunter's Point

A legal barrier to the Hunter's Point project in Queens was removed last week when an environmentally-based court action brought by a tennis facility within the site was dismissed by a New York State Supreme Court Judge.

The Tennisport owners, Nixbot Realty Associates, contended that the environmental review done by the Urban Development Corporation and the Board of Estimate was insufficient.

Manhattan Justice Francis N. Pecora said the agencies had complied with all applicable environmental statutes in the course of reviewing and approving the 74-acre waterfront project. He said the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which ran to 2,500 pages, had addressed the petitioner's concerns and considered a reasonable range of alternatives.

Hunter's Point, which is being developed by the New York City Urban Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York, is expected to encompass 9.3 million square feet of residential, commercial and community buildings. A 1.2-mile waterfront esplanade will also be part of the public access plan.

Mark A. Chertok, the Sive, Paget and Riesel partner who represented the city together with associate James Tierney and UDC's, general counsel, Valerie Caproni, said, "We're very pleased because we hope this will remove any impediment to the project, which is on the governor's list."

Donald Elliot of Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander & Ferdon represented the developer. He said they had not yet discussed an appeal.

The Tennisport property, located within the Hunters Point project, has passed all necessary city approvals and while the development will be mixed-use, the particular area under the Tennisport is slated for office use.

"It clears the road to go forward," said Chertok. "The tennis court people demanded there must be a more quantified look at the economics," which, he said, has not be required before in any New York City Environmental Impact Statement.

"They claimed that Long Island City was a special environmental area and that the impact statement had to consider all of the contemplated projects and evaluate them with some level of detail," he said.

The court, Chertok said, found the studies here had looked at other projects, and the intensive studies the Tennis facility had requested were only required in a special environmental area, such as the Pine Barrens up in Albany.

"The Tennisport claimed Long Island City was a bottleneck for traffic to Long Island," Chertok explained, "but the court said the studies which were done were more than adequate. The different projects had to be related to each other and the court found they were not," he said.

Another tennis court development, which is to the north of Hunter's Point, is unaffected by the court's decision. Shelly S. Friedman, a Brown and Wood partner and land use specialist who represents the East River Tennis Club/RAK development, said his client's primarily residential project, which is separate and distinct from Hunter's Point, is all set to go. "Thankfully from my client's point of view, we can go about our business," he said. "Now there are market and financial considerations but our relationship with the City of New York after the rezoning is minimal. We can go and pull our permits as soon as we're able to."
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Title Annotation:waterfront project in Queens, New York, New York
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 9, 1991
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