The East Harlem Small Business Association is trying to block the city's plan to evict businesses to make way for an East Harlem Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center.
Businesses on the strip -- from 125th to 126th streets between Second and Third avenues -- have tried to fight the project in court. The East Harlem Business Association hired real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey on their behalf, however Bailey declined to comment.
The $700 million, 1.7 million-square-foot project, approved by the City Planning Commission in 2008, is slated to include 30,000 square feet of community space, more than 600 affordable housing units, a public plaza, a hotel, and office and retail space.
On Wednesday the New York Supreme court granted the city's petition to acquire the properties. However, according to Kelly Magee, vice president of public affairs for the Economic Development Corporation, which is responsible for the project, businesses will receive buyouts.
"When the city does acquire the properties, compensation will be given to all former owners and to those tenants entitled to payment under the law," Magee said via email.
Among the affected establishments is the New Light Baptist Church on 125th Street, which will lose the parking lot for its congregation.
New Light pastor Bobby Lewis said there's been a lack of communication between the city and the businesses.
"We weren't notified at all," of the city's plans to acquire the properties, Lewis said. "We just heard other people in the community talking about it." (Credit: Jeremy Bales)