Arts center near Hudson Yards faces demolition from city to make way for new park

May 3, 2019

Rendering via MVVA and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation

To make room for New York City’s most expensive park project ever, a handful of properties near the Hudson Yards site face demolition. One of those buildings is Affirmation Arts, a gallery on West 37th run by William Hillman. According to THE CITY, Hillman said he is willing to give his building to the city for free, on the condition it remains a cultural center. “I would like to give this building to the people of New York City to share with the world,” Hillman said during a hearing Tuesday.

520 west 37th, affirmation arts
Site of Affirmation Arts, via Google Street View

As 6sqft learned last September, the city’s plan to expand the Hudson Yards park from West 36th to West 39th Street will be the city’s most expensive park project ever, originally dubbed Hudson Park and Boulevard, with a price tag of roughly $374 million. In March, the city renamed the park, of which the first phase opened in 2015, in honor of late U.S. Representative of New York, Bella Abzug.

The second phase of the project involves the city preparing to use eminent domain to build the three-acre addition of green space. According to THE CITY, there are 10 properties on the city’s condemnation list, including Hillman’s arts center.

According to Hillman’s attorneys, the city could take over the building as early as this fall. Hillman, who has owned the arts center for 15 years, said he knows it will be difficult to stop the city. But he remains optimistic. “If we’re not bold and hopeful, nothing will happen,” he told THE CITY. “We have to be hopeful and move forward as though we’ll be here.

Lincoln Patel, a lawyer for the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, a group overseen by Mayor Bill de Blasio, told THE CITY: “The city will work with displaced businesses to help find them suitable places to relocate. This park has been planned for over a decade and will provide much needed public open space.”

Earlier this year, developer Tishman Speyer bought a two-story auto repair shop on West 36th Street for $20 million. The company plans to demolish the building to make way for the Bella Abzug Park, and in exchange receive air rights from the city to build a tower bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

Last August, de Blasio announced the project secured a $500 million investment, allowing the park’s second phase to begin. Groundbreaking for the second phase is estimated to begin in 2020, with an opening planned for the winter of 2023.



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Tags: Nyc Parks
Location: Hudson Yards

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