According to the Observer's real estate blog, the city is looking for a relocation "expert" to help find new homes for the businesses it wants to remove from the Willets Point redevelopment site. In reality, the city's looking for a repo man: "The consultant “is being engaged to help develop a relocation assistance strategy, and, working closely with and on behalf of NYCEDC, to manage all day-to-day aspects of the assistance program,” according to a description on EDC’s Web site."
The last time we saw this kind of charade in action, it was the merchants at the Bronx Terminal Market getting the shaft. The relocation expert there was little more than a smokescreen for actual help that never arrived. The key for those merchants, as it is for those at the Point, is for a place to be found where all or a good portion of the businesses can be located together.
Without this synergy, the chances that these small firms will survive for long is rather slim. The merchants at the Point need the city, and not some bogus specialist, to find a suitable alternative site. If it doesn't, there only real alternative is to stand and fight the entire project. It makes more sense to go down fighting than to accept a slow and painful death from a city-designated helper.