Monday, April 10, 2006

A cornered market

It today’s Metro, Patrick Arden reports on the continuing saga over the Fulton Street Transit Center where a number of small businesses are being evicted in order to make way for the new MTA facility. As we’ve reported in the past, these 140 or so firms are not fighting the plan but are simply trying to get fair compensation and a viable relocation plan.

In order to achieve this goal, the MTA has hired the Cornerstone Group of Bronx Terminal Market fame or should we say infamy. As you may remember Cornerstone was charged with relocating BTM merchants but all they did was copy NY Times real estate listings, many of which where too small, had no refrigeration and no loading docks. The biggest issue, of course, was that these spaces were spread throughout the Bronx and did not allow for the synergistic market to be maintained.

Cornerstone is similarly failing to help the evicted businesses at Ground Zero. Arden quotes Manhattan Borough President Stringer who describes an effort eerily similar to what happened with the Terminal Market:

“Their relocation effort was basically giving real estate ads out and saying, ‘Good luck,’” said Stringer. “We need now to figure out how we’re going to relocate these businesses in four months, what assistance do they really need, and who do we hold accountable.”

We’re pleased that Stringer and other elected officials are sticking up for these guys. Hopefully they won’t receive the same short shift as the Bronx Terminal Market merchants.