Monday, August 01, 2005

With Sugar On Top

In a previous post, we detailed how the Bronx House of Detention land swap, questionable from the beginning, became a bit more interesting after we learned that the HOD land is worth $41,000,000. Well things have become even more intriguing after doing further research on the City’s own property value website.

Plugging in the block/lot numbers gleaned from this document – one that details the land Related would have given up for the Olympic Velodrome – we get some interesting numbers. According to the Department of Finance, the land being given to the city is worth:

Block 2356, Lot 2: $1.9 Million
Block 2539, Lot 2: $9.7 Million
That total of $11.6 million falls way short of the $41 million land the City is generously bequeathing. But wait, according to that Velodrome planning document the cycling facility would have only used a part of the $9.7 million lot so, in reality, the value of what Related is giving up is even lower (note: A small part of E. 150th street was also part of the deal though we're not currently able to determine its value, if any).

It’s at this juncture that the testimony of EDC President Alper needs replaying:

COUNCIL MEMBER MONSERRATE: No appraisal, so you don't know what the property is worth?

Mr. Alper: I know it's [The House of Detention] worth the same or less than the property they're giving up. Do you understand that?

COUNCIL MEMBER MONSERRATE: And how much is that property worth?

MR. ALPER: It doesn't matter. It's in-kind
So by Mr. Alper’s definition “in-kind” has a range of + or - $30 million.

One could argue that with the Velodrome deal, even though swapping the process was questionable, at least the City was getting something of relatively equal value for the House of Detention. However, now with the 2012 Olympics and a Velodrome belonging to London, the glaring question is: why is the City moving ahead with this transfer and thus creating a deal so sweet as to induce a diabetic coma?

It is bad enough that Related was able to obtain the Terminal Market without a competitive bidding process and is currently paying $4 million less in annual rent than the 20 small wholesalers that it and EDC so eagerly want to uproot. But, on top of all this, now the friends of the Deputy Mayor are being given additional valuable City land for what reason exactly?