ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Protesters were on hand as LG Electronics broke ground to build its corporate headquarters above tree-lined cliffs on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.
The South Korean company on Thursday will plant the first of 700 trees on the 26-acre site.
As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, dozen of protesters stood outside the entrance to the 27-acre property where LG Electronics will build its 143-foot high corporate headquarters before the ceremonial groundbreaking was held.
“There’s a way to do this right, they still have that opportunity,” said Larry Rockefeller, whose famous family gave the property to the state a century ago.
He said he wants LG to build a lower-profile building.
“So that the views and the integrity of the park are protected,” Rockefeller told Putney.
Opponents on the New Jersey and New York side of the river said the 143-foot-high building in Englewood Cliffs exceeds a 35-foot height limit on buildings and would ruin the natural beauty of Palisades Interstate Park.
“This is one of the last remaining gems in the New York region,” Mark Izeman, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told 1010 WINS. “Why would LG want to build a corporate tower when it could build a lower rise alternative that would protect the park? For 100 years, we’ve protected a 20-mile stretch, an incredible national landmark and this one company has the arrogance to say that it needs a building that can go 90 feet over the tree line.”
LG officials said the $300 million, energy-efficient project will blend into its surroundings and boost the economy.
“This property is not on the Palisades, it’s not on the cliffs, we’re a quarter-mile back from the cliffs and the building is a gorgeous, environmental showplace that will blend nicely with the environment,” LG spokesman John Taylor told 1010 WINS. “There are many much taller buildings less than a quarter-mile away that are already above the tree line.”
Taylor said the project will create over 2,200 construction jobs over the next three years.
“We did make a lot of revisions to this project,” Taylor told Putney.
He added a lot of neighbors support the project.
“They recognize the tremendous economic and environmental benefits it will bring,” said Taylor.
Opponents are appealing a judge’s decision in favor of the project.
“This is a view in a park that’s enjoyed by millions of residents everyday that cross the George Washington Bridge,” said Izeman. “Here is one multi-national company has decided that its corporate profits are more important than the enjoyment of millions of residents in this region.”
Taylor said LG is spending millions of dollars that will create much-needed jobs in the Garden State.
“I don’t know how you could call investing $300 million in the State of New Jersey as corporate greed,” Taylor said. “This is a huge commitment on the part of our company to make this a successful project for the community of Englewood Cliffs, for Bergen County and the State of New Jersey.”
The new LG headquarters is expected to open in 2017.
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