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Is ‘Green’ Builder Durst Dirty Upstate?

Zagats give bad review.


Douglas Durst, developer of the “green” Condé Nast Building and Bank of America Tower, tried to be an eco-friendly developer before it was trendy. Now he will be honored as an environmentalist at a SUNY Purchase College gala on November 12. But locals a bit farther upstate, in Dutchess County, don’t think he’s such an eco-hero, since the Durst Organization wants to build about 1,000 housing units on and around the former estate of Tom Carvel, the late Fudgie the Whale magnate. “I don’t think something is green if it doubles the size of a town,” says Paul Spencer, co-chair of Pine Plains United, a group opposing the plan (members include Tim and Nina Zagat, George Rush and Joanna Molloy, and Andrew and Nancy Jarecki). “Environment isn’t just natural environment. If you change it, if you contort it completely, that’s not environmental, that’s destructive.” Durst rep Jordan Barowitz says his boss is just as green upstate as downstate: “Recyclable materials will be used, and important environmental attributes such as animal and plant habitats, slopes, and wetlands will be preserved.” Spencer says he doesn’t want all these new houses, no matter how green they’re built. “This development is on a scale that’s unprecedented in this area. It will turn us into a suburb. This isn’t Westchester.”

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