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NEW YORK CITY-A controversial Hell’s Kitchen apartment building has been topped out in a ceremony befitting a project that bucked fierce local opposition to its presence in the neighborhood. The last bucket of concrete was raised with the American flag at the Biltmore, a 51-story luxury rental tower at 47th Street and Eighth Avenue.

The building, a joint venture between the Jack Parker Corp. and the Moinian Group, will be ready for occupancy in spring 2003. Originally planned as a 62-story high rise, neighborhood activists succeeded in pressuring the developers to drop the height to 51 stories with 20% of the units designated as affordable housing. Further efforts to bring the building in under 50 stories failed.

“It’s unfortunate that the developers decided to ignore the community’s concerns regarding the size and impact of this massive building.” Clinton Special District Coalition president John Fisher tells GlobeSt.com.

Getting the project off the ground required assembling a complex package of tax breaks, stacked air rights from the adjacent Biltmore Theater and a nearby firehouse, a $20-million restoration of the theater and the 80-20 affordable-housing mix that qualifies it for a $155-million mortgage from the state’s Housing Finance Agency.

The building includes 464 apartments, 93 of which will be designated affordable, and 35,000 sf of retail space of the ground, second and third floors.

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