Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bloomdoggle at the Bronx Terminal Market

Juan Gonzalez hits the bulls-eye today in his column on the “Bloomdoggle” at the Bronx Terminal Market. Building on the research of the Alliance’s Communications Director Matt Lipsky, Gonzalez exposes the favoritism and cronyism involved in the cavalier swap of the Bronx House of Detention for land earmarked to build a Velodrome for the now defunct Olympic bid:

The now-dead West Side stadium project wasn't the only sweetheart land deal City Hall cooked up the past few years in the name of our failed 2012 Olympic bid.

The proposed Olympic Velodrome in the South Bronx is another of Mayor Bloomberg's boondoggles for billionaires.
As Gonzalez points out, however, even though the assumptions underlying the swap are no longer valid, the handover is still going forward. The author, referencing the City Hall hearing on June 27th, also questions how Andrew Alper can arrogantly assert that no appraisal is necessary when sole-sourcing City-owned land:

So the head of Bloomberg's economic development arm believes property appraisals are unnecessary when the city is selling your land to billionaires. And how dare anybody ask him about it?
But people are asking and according to appraisals that do exist (from ‘04-‘05) the value of House of Detention is over $38 million while the Velodrome land is worth at most $11.6.

However, the most interesting aspect of Gonzalez’s piece comes at the end:

But wait, it gets better.

Now that the Olympics are history, I asked EDC officials and a Related spokesman yesterday about their plans for the Velodrome site.

"The city is working with Related to determine the best use of the site," an EDC spokeswoman said. The Related spokesman had the same response.

The city's sole-source deal, it turns out, gave Related development rights for the Velodrome site in the event the Olympic bid failed.

Smart businessmen, these Bloomberg people.
In other words, all the addition and subtraction we performed over the last few days was irrelevant because Related is going to get both parcels, bid free and at an unknown lease rate!

Considering all that the City is doing for Related, it is unconscionable that it feels no obligation to take care of the merchants who are still occupying the space.