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Work Halted At Trump Site Following Discovery Of Human Remains

Human Remains Found: Human remains, possibly from 15-20 bodies, were uncovered early this week during excavation at the Trump condo-hotel site at 246 Spring Street.  The remains reportedly appear to be over 100 years old.  The Department of Buildings has halted the excavation work on the site (Trump currently has permits to excavate, but not build, on the site).  For further details, see an article in the New York Post and the New York Sun

GVSHP immediately asked City agencies not to allow any further work “until the source and origin of the remains have been independently identified and their significance fully evaluated by proper authorities” (CLICK HERE for full letter).  Given the age of the remains, they are likely part of a burial ground for the Spring Street Presbyterian Church, a staunchly abolitionist church built in 1811 on the site and almost burned to the ground in 1834 by an angry mob opposed to their abolitionist work.  The church was demolished in 1963, and appears to have been one of the city’s few early churches to serve both an African-American and European-American constituency.  If the remains pre-date that time period, they may have been associated with one of several prominent families or institutions which owned land in the area in the 18th century, or with the freed black slave settlement which occupied much of the area during the Dutch and early English colonial period.  GVSHP is seeking to ensure that a full and independent evaluation is done and the remains are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.  We have provided the City with historic information about the abolitionist church which stood on this site and the work it performed to help argue for the possible significance of this discovery (CLICK HERE for documents sent to the City).

More Smoking Guns on Trump Plans to Violate Zoning: Following last week’s discovery by Borough President Scott Stringer that Trump was advertising his new development on his website as a residence (which would violate the law), it has now come to light that the City’s own official Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, NYC and Co., has been promoting Trump’s planned 45-story condo-hotel development at 246 Spring Street as a place for buyers to live ‘year-round’ (CLICK HERE).  Trump and NYC and Co. both removed the materials from their websites only after they were brought to light.   But GVSHP has also found several on-line advertisements for sales of condo units at the Trump development which continue to refer to them as “residences,” even though residential use and residential development are prohibited by the zoning at this location.  The City has said they will allow this development to move ahead because it is not “a residence” (CLICK HERE).  GVSHP wrote to Mayor Bloomberg and city officials calling to their attention the “growing incontrovertible evidence that the planned Trump ‘condo-hotel’ at 246 Spring Street in Manhattan will in fact be used as a residence, in violation of zoning restrictions,” and urging them “not to allow this project to move ahead” (CLICK HERE for letter).  For further details, seee article in the New York Metro.

Additionally, GVSHP has written to the NY State Attorney General’s Office, regarding their review of Trump’s condominium plan for his hotel, which they must approve (CLICK HERE for letter).   According to an article in the Journal of the Urban Land Institute, if residential uses are restricted at a condo-hotel, it may not be able to qualify under federal law as a condominium.  This would support our argument that Trump’s plan by its very nature violates zoning regulations and contradict the City’s argument that they can “ensure” that Trump’s condo-units are not used as residences.  At the very least, it may lead to some difficulty in Trump getting his condo-plan approved at the State level.

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