Real Estate Board of New York Testimony before the New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises St. John’s Center

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is a trade association with 17,000 members comprised of owners, builders, brokers, managers, and other professionals active in real estate in New York. We are here today to support the St. John’s Center rezoning and the Hudson Square waterfront development plan.

This plan addresses a number of critical and interrelated issues that have vexed the community and the Hudson River Park Trust for more than a decade — how to fund the costly infrastructure repairs to Pier 40, while preserving the athletic fields and maintaining critical operating revenue stream from the parking facility.

In addition to these vital benefits, the development project addresses some of our most pressing needs while providing valuable community amenities.

The St. John’s Center development on Washington Street will consist of five buildings with approximately 1.7 million square feet of development, including almost 1,600 units of housing of which 30 percent would be permanently affordable in a mix of low and moderate income households as well as senior housing. The development will also include 400,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as a 10,000 square foot indoor recreational center that would be available for residents and the public.

This new sustainable development project will replace an outmoded site that intrudes on the street grid with a modern, mixed-use development that will revitalize the streetscape with retail, improved light and air down to Houston Street, much improved access to West Street, and newly-created view corridors.

A new development of this type and scale has significant economic benefits in the short and long term. Construction is expected to create on average 1,800 on-site jobs per year for three years and 1,500 full and part-time jobs once construction is complete. During the construction period, the City and the State are estimated to receive $126 million in new tax revenue and an estimated $21 million in annual taxes when completed.

This project is critical to the preservation of Pier 40 and the Hudson River Park, and will provide a significant amount of much needed new and affordable housing. Across the board, this is an integral and transformative project that is good for New York City. For these reasons, we support this project.