BID MADE ON HARLEM SITE; SEARS REPORTEDLY IS BUSINESS PARTNER

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — The Abyssinian Development Corp. made a qualifying proposal Monday to develop a retail store and office complex on a Harlem site, with a business partner that reportedly is Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Abyssinian’s plan was submitted to the Empire State Development Corp., as were three other proposals for the site, bound by 125th and 126th Streets, and Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. The deadline was Monday.
A six-person ESDC committee will begin reviewing the proposals Wednesday, a source said. The review process typically takes around one month.
A Sears spokesman declined comment on the report Monday. A spokesman at Abyssinian confirmed that the group had submitted a qualifying proposal but would not comment on whether Sears was included, as reported on page 6, March 31.
“We do not comment on any pending proposals,” the Abyssinian spokesman said. “If we are chosen, we will give the details of our plan.”
Sears has also bid for a site in the New York Coliseum but is not expected to make the cut when the list of Coliseum bidders is shaved from nine to three, sources said, adding that the retailer may be seeking to raise its political clout by staking a claim in Harlem. At the same time, the ESDC has been shopping for a “home-run tenant” for the Harlem location.
“It’s a site that’s been in play for some time,” said the ESDC source. “We’ve been looking for private sector and community-based partnerships to develop the site for retailing and office space.”
The site Abyssinian is after is owned by New York State and houses a city-owned garage. A development called the Harlem International Trade Center, planned by the Harlem Urban Development Project, was slated to go in there, but failed to get off the ground.

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