The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced plans for an East River Science Park (ERSP), to concentrate an area in New York City for life science research and technology development. Upon completion, the $700 million complexes will have three buildings on 3.5 acres, encompassing 1.1 million square feet of specialized laboratories and office space as well as services for scientists working in the labs, to be built in two phases. The site was once part of the Bellevue Medical complex and is situated on Manhattan’s Eastside – between 28th and 29th Street to the south and north and First Avenue and the FDR on the west and east. Before construction began, the parcel was used as a parking lot.
In August 2005, Mayor Bloomberg announced the designation of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. as the developer of the East River Science Park. Alexandria is known for this type of development. The company was not required to buy the land, but instead, a lease was negotiated with the City for 49 years with two 25-year options. Upon completion of construction, the company will pay the City a yearly rate starting at $2 million and increasing annually.
The EDC believes that creating this concentrated center for the study of biosciences will increase the industry’s presence in New York. The development is being funded by the New York Investment Fund and is supported by many of the medical institutions located near the development site. The City and State will pay for much of the infrastructure work that is needed.
As part of the project development, the EDC has issued a request for a proposal for a hotel to be built in a building once used by the Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital. The hotel would serve the businesses located at the Science Park. While the hotel development was slated to go through the extensive public review process, the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), in March 2009, the EDC said that the project would no longer warrant using ULURP. In June 2009, a group of twelve elected officials expressed to the EDC their concern with the hotel plan for the site, instead urging for the facility to be used for medical or institutional use.
The ground was broken on the project in October 2007. While phase one of the project is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009, there will be delays for the second phase of the project because of the decrease in lending available to finance the project.