Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp., joined by elected officials and the East River Plaza Mall’s developers, leads Grand Opening ceremonies for the Mall.




            New York, NY – On Tuesday, July 20th, Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) hosted the grand opening ceremony for the East River Plaza Mall.


Mr. Knuckles was joined by a number of elected officials, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.  In addition to other City and State government officials, also in attendance were Ed Blumenfeld and David Blumenfeld of Blumenfeld Development Group, Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner Companies, and Peter Davidson, Executive Director of the Empire State Development Corp.


In the fall of 2005, UMEZ approved a $15 million Business Investments loan and $40 million in triple-tax exempt Empowerment Zone Bonds towards the development of the 485,000 square foot mall.  The Mall’s retail tenants include Costco, Best Buy, Target, Bob’s Discount Furniture, GameStop, Old Navy, Marshall’s, Kidstown, Verizon and PetSmart.  Several of these tenants have already opened, with the remainder scheduled to open within the week.


“This project represents the single largest investment UMEZ has ever made and brings our total investment in East Harlem to over $100 million,” said Mr. Knuckles. “East River Plaza not only brings additional quality retail choices to Upper Manhattan, but even more importantly, it represents job creation. In the case of this mall, more than 1,000 jobs will be for residents of this community.”


Among other amenities, East River Plaza Mall has an attached 1,250-space parking facility. It sits primarily on the site of the former Washburn Wire factory and consists of nearly six acres that are adjacent to the FDR Drive between 116th and 119th Streets. The mall is directly accessible via the 116th Street exit of the FDR Drive.



ABOUT THE Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone  DEVELOPMENT CORP.


UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.

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