As plans to revamp 125th Street go forward, some local businesses say they're the ones that will be paying the price. A meeting was held Thursday night to discuss the matter. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
National Urban League President Marc Morial told a crowd of Harlem residents Thursday night that he wants to move the headquarters of the century-old civil rights group from Wall Street to Harlem.
"We're in the early stages," Morial said. We have no plans. We have some very preliminary drawings."
The plan is to build a 466,000-square-foot facility on 125th Street. It would include a civil rights museum, a conference center, retail space and more than 100 residential units. At least half of them would be affordable.
"What we're going to create for what is now a one-story project, a one-story building, is a building that's going to have far greater economic impact than what is currently at the site," Morial said.
The building would create more than 1,000 temporary construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs.
However, to build the development, the current structure must come down, and five businesses would have to go, including a Golden Krust.
Ron Waltin, the owner of that Golden Krust, said that he invested $400,000 in the franchise 15 years ago at the city-owned building. Officials are offering him a $250,000 loan to relocate.
"I mortgaged my house and my family's future," he said. "I don't now what the future is going to be for me now."
The city said that the leases will be up when building could start. The National Urban League said that at least 5 percent of the retail space would be local.
Many at the public comment meeting support the project, but want more consideration given to local businesses.
"The Urban League is supposed to be about helping the people, but right now, they're not," said one person.
Among the critics is state Senator Bill Perkins, who is actually on the committee that would have to approve the development.
Businesses had been told that Macy's was among the retailers coming but in, but everyone involved in the deal said that that's not the case and that the retailers have not yet been chosen.