Those are the terms set forth in a stipulation agreement, filed June 13, for an ongoing lawsuit between the city’s economic development arm and American Development, the agency’s former private partner on the project. The developer was selected in 2013 to build a park on the 1.2-acre block—framed by Willoughby Street, Albee Square West and Duffield Street—along with a 500-car underground parking garage, but negotiations for the deal collapsed in February. When the EDC announced last month it would build the park—minus the parking—on its own, American Development sued the next day.
Despite the legal challenge, the EDC has started adding turf, gravel, benches, light posts and fencing to the 1.2-acre lot, according to the court filing. The agency plans to open part of the lot to the public by July 4 while the design plans are finalized. The EDC will invest at least $15 million into the park, which will include a memorial to the neighborhood’s abolitionist history.
The stipulation agreement allows the EDC to continue its minor surface work but requires the agency provide written notice of any major construction until at least Dec. 2. While the EDC won’t comment on the litigation, the agency previously estimated it would start construction on the park in 2020, beyond the terms of the stipulation. The agreement allows the EDC to perform maintenance and run tests as needed for the project as well.
American Development’s lawsuit asserts that the company spent millions preparing the project when, in December, the EDC provided a list of requirements the developer had to meet within six weeks. The suit argues that the city placed several roadblocks that prevented American Development from completing the city’s demands before the deal was dropped.
American Development hasn’t given up on the project. A company spokeswoman shared a rendering of the planned park with the underground garage. Company officials hope to resolve the lawsuit by 2020 and proceed with that plan. Here is that rendering:
SOURCE: Section Page News – Crain’s New York Business – Read entire story here.