The City University of New York (CUNY) will spend $1 million this year to prevent a “hole in the ground” from flooding at the site of a long-stalled construction project, The New York Post has reported.
The problem occurred after CUNY dug a foundation for a new $300 million nursing school facility that it never obtained the funding to actually build, the newspaper reported in an exclusive story on May 1.
If the project could be built today, it would now cost $900 million, a CUNY spokesperson told the Post.
The site, for a planned Hunter College nursing and science program building, is next to Memorial Sloan Kettering’s outpatient facility on the Upper East Side.
Funding stalled because of a dispute with state officials under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The construction site at East 73rd and 74th Streets between York Avenue and the FDR Drive, is boarded up with green fencing, and there is cement covering up the “bowl tub” foundation, the Post says.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CUNY officials announced the joint Sloan-Kettering/CUNY facility in 2012 without inviting Cuomo. Unfortunately, most of the project’s funds needed to come from New York State, and these weren’t forthcoming.
“It’s a hole in the ground that requires spending taxpayer dollars to prevent water damage. It’s an embarrassment for Hunter, CUNY and state officials,” a CUNY insider said.
CUNY now must protect the “foundation and bathtub, which must be dewatered and maintained until construction of a new building begins” to comply with city building codes, according to a request for proposals the university has sent to bidders, The Post says.
A CUNY representative said the overall building plan remains in limbo, and that it needs to spend about $1 million a year to maintain the site.
“CUNY is reviewing and updating the current plan to determine appropriate next steps,” the spokesman said.