Developers should build with communities, not against them
Oct 09, 2014 | 14876 views | 0 0 comments | 617 617 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All around our city, in every borough, local communities are fighting for information about upcoming developments. In many cases, developers have set themselves up against those communities to their own dismay.

But in Dumbo, one developer is doing it right. Two Trees Management promised local community advocacy organizations in the spring that they would remain transparent as development of the former Domino Sugar Refinery moves forward, so that existing lower income communities have the best chance possible to be included in the application process. Now, they're following through on that promise.

What's more, the development plan includes placement of many of the artifacts that have made the Domino Sugar Refinery an iconic piece of East River history into a riverfront park that will be open to all.

Other recent developments haven't been so accommodating. Take Jerry Wolkoff's two towers that will soon be replacing the whitewashed remains of Five Points. While he argued at the time that he loved the art that covered the walls of his LIC building for so many years, instead of figuring out a way to preserve it, he had it defaced.

In Astoria Cove, developers have it in their minds that a $2,700 apartment qualifies as affordable housing, but local residents beg to differ. Clearly, these developers could learn something from The Walentas brothers at Two Trees.

Developers need to remember one thing when they are approaching a community with a proposal to build: everyone just wants a fair shake, and in order to level the playing field, everyone needs equal access to the information that will help them achieve their housing goals.

So talk to people. Share information and work with them, and they will appreciate you, rather than harbor negativity toward your endeavors.

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