New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Michael Oreskes

Our Town Kallos: ‘This Wasn’t Really About Blood’ by Michael Oreskes

Kallos: ‘This Wasn’t Really About Blood’

“I am still reaching out to them asking them to come to the table,” Kallos told Community Board 8 on Wednesday night.

“It’s hard to stomach all this happening without the community being at the table. So please keep your hopes up. Please fight, fight, fight to the very end because you never know.”

“This really wasn’t about blood,” Kallos said. “Its all about this Longfellow commercial tower. The Longfellow commercial tower offers their tenants something called Elevate, which is curated experiences from yoga to Peletons ... to free flowing wine and beer. This was something that was particularly important for their experience because according to Longfellow ‘nobody goes to work to work anymore.’ And it seems like we were taking a lot of steps to make Longfellow happy in this process so they would give money to what is essentially a worthy nonprofit.”

“Eleven stories is 110 feet except in this project,” Kallos said. “Could they just lower their heights? Could they get rid of 37 feet of mechanical in the middle of the building? Could they go to having 20 foot floors and 18 foot floors to a more reasonable 14 feet?”

The Community Board also heard from a key figure in the deal, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who had dropped her opposition to the project when the Blood Center agreed to lower the height of the building.

She seemed almost apologetic for her reversal. “I do not know how the city council will vote,” she said.

“I couldn’t get the number down from 233 down to 210 or under 200. I tried. Many, many meetings. I was unable to do it. At that point I said ‘I can’t do anything else.’”

Which is, she said, when she and Council Member Keith Powers, who represents an adjacent district, decided to support the Blood Center project, but “not enthusiastically at all.”