Thursday, February 10, 2011

Related to Whom?

In another example of how the Related Companies and the Bloombergistas are joined at the hip comes this latest news from Crain's: "A team made up of Related Cos., Phipps Houses and Monadnock Construction was selected Wednesday to develop the first phase of a huge project on a 30-acre waterfront parcel in Long Island City, Queens,, a site that was once envisioned as home to an Olympic Village for the 2012 games."

We guess that lying to the city council isn't a disqualifying factor for the mayor. But lie Related did when it told CM Barron that Walmart was not going to be included on the expansion of the Gateway Mall-a designation that was sole-sourced, with no competitive bid, by the free market loving Bloomberg-just as was the case with the Bronx Terminal Market. And it must be pointed out that this wasn't the first time that this developer had a seriously flawed relationship with the truth.

If you remember back to 2008, it was Related that put in the "winning" bid on the Kingsbridge Armory by pledging to exclude a supermarket, since a local food store was right across the street from the proposed development-and had serviced the community wonderfully for fifty years. When the company finished its EIS, however, there was the supermarket-underscoring that Related is unrelated to veracity. That project went down to deserving defeat.

And now, once again, Related is moved to the front of the queue by Free Market Mike. As the NY Times points out: "Rival developers complained privately that the city would favor Mr. Ross because of his close ties to the Bloomberg administration. City officials went to great lengths to explain why the Related team was chosen. Rafael E. Cestero, the city’s housing commissioner, said that the Related-Phipps-Monadnock team had submitted the lowest-cost bid and adhered most closely to the city’s design guidelines. Indeed, it was the only one, he said, that offered to build all the apartments for poor, working- and middle-class families. The city will be subsidizing only 75 percent of the project because of financial constraints on its part, Mr. Cestero said."

The open question, however, is how does the council feel about the Hunter's South designation of Related, and will the members make it clear to the mayor that this developer-given its track record of dishonesty-can't be trusted when it makes any representations before the body? One thing is crystal clear to us: when Related is involved there is little relationship between the RFP and the finished product-and the city council is best off finding a way to tell Related and the mayor-in good Johnny Paycheck fashion-to, "take this job and shove it!"