Borough President Markowitz slammed the Queens-based developers of the Greenpoint Hospital site for making the “wrong” claim that he would underwrite the project with $3.9 million.
Great American Construction won the bid to redevelop the empty hospital building partly on a claim that it has secured funding from the borough president. Problem is, it had not.
“It [is] certainly wrong to anticipate that I would be providing what is noted,” Markowitz told Housing Commissioner Rafael Cestero last week. “You may want to reconsider the assumptions of the feasibility of the project before determining that it is worthy to pursue.”
Specifically, Great American claimed that it had locked up $1.7 million for the $52.3-million Greenpoint Hospital site, plus another $2.2 million to help build a $17-million senior housing facility and community center on Olive Street.
It simply could not be true, said a spokesman for Markowitz, because “we were never asked for, nor have we provided any funding for, this project.”
The amount requested by Great American “exceed the funds that he has provided to individual housing projects during his tenure,” the spokesman added.
Great American Construction and Bronx-based Lemle and Wolff won a highly competitive bidding process in April to develop affordable housing on the site of the former neighborhood hospital — beating out a Greenpoint-based group that had campaigned for housing on the hospital site after it closed 28 years ago.
The Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation — a losing bidder — sued the city in August in order to stop the project.
And this week, the group hailed Markowitz’s intercession.
“You have to take the politics out of our everyday lives,” said Greenpoint Renaissance member Diane Jackson. “We don’t need an outside organization coming from the Bronx. We know what your community want and the [our] project is based on that.”
A spokesman for the Department of Housing and Preservation Development declined to comment because of the pending litigation. The process to convert the defunct hospital into housing began with discussions 28 years and has been rife with confusion and controversy ever since.
The city finally sought developers for the site three years ago.