Friday, October 14, 2005

Legal Issues at the BTM

The lawyers for the merchants at the Bronx Terminal Market have filed a motion, one that serves to justify the decision to withhold rent payments and seeks to enjoin the Related Companies from continuing its illegal construction on the site. The crux of the legal argument is that the redevelopment of the BTM as a suburban mall can only proceed after the ULURP process has been completed.

The point here is that the construction being done, besides disrupting the business activity of the wholesalers, presupposes an approval that the city has yet to grant. In addition, the fact that the so-called landlord is engaged in activities that is disruptive to the well-functioning of the market justifies the withholding of rent payments that are being used, in contravention to the existing 63 month lease (the one of questionable legality), in furtherance of the demise of the market itself. After all, the rent proceeds are being used by Related to amortize the loan it has taken out to purchase the property for redevelopment (with the concomitant elimination of the existing tenants).