By Jessi Mitchell

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A proposal to add two high-rise buildings to the Harlem landscape reached a critical point Thursday. Developers faced some of their harshest critics yet, neighbors.

The One45 development would feature two towers more than 350 feet tall at the corner of Lenox Ave and West 145th Street. It would replace old storefronts and a vacant lot, but first the builders need the block rezoned, CBS2’s Jessi Mitchell reported.

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Developers faced backlash when they first presented the idea to the Harlem Community Board in May. Moire Davis lives at Esplanade Gardens across the street.

“I think they were offended,” she said on behalf of her fellow tenants. “You know that no one knew and it was just somewhat hush, hush.”

The towers would contain more than 900 apartments, a Civil Rights museum and the new headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Many neighbors feel a development of this size would add congestion and be a detriment to the community they call home.

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“What happens when the tourism comes?” asked Davis. “This isn’t 125th Street. We’re going to have buses. There’s already congestion, OK? Forget the Yankees games. You’re done.”

Proposal supporters Mitchell spoke with did not want to appear on camera, but say the block is ripe for revitalization. One person tells me having a percentage of affordable housing units in the complex is better than none. Even Davis admits the shiny lights would be a better sight than the blight.

“We all know that housing is a big issue in this city,” Davis said. “Homelessness is on the rise. So do you want an undeveloped property, an eyesore, to not be developed? Of course not.”

The Community Board votes on Jan. 5 whether or not to recommend approval for rezoning. Thursday’s public meeting streams live starting at 6:30 pm here.

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To review the One45 development proposal in its entirety, click here.

Jessi Mitchell