A Williamsburg property mogul rejected Mayor DeBlasio’s $100-million offer to buy land he owns on the neighborhood’s waterfront, thwarting Hizzoner’s effort to make good on a decade-old promise to turn the site into parkland, according to his broker.
City officials met with developer Norm Brodsky on Thursday to make the offer on his burnt-out CitiStorage warehouses at Kent Avenue and N. 11th Street, but Brodsky turned them down, according to his real-estate rep, who claims they have higher offers on the table and DeBlasio will have to up the ante to compete.
“We’re running a standard broker sales process where we’re having people bid for property and we’re going to accept highest bid,” said Paul Massey of Cushman and Wakefield. “We’re delighted to have city be a part of that.”
DeBlasio’s offer follows years of pressure from local activists and pols, who say the city must fulfil its pledge to expand Bushwick Inlet Park out to 28 acres — a tradeoff it made when rezoning much of the waterfront for luxury high-rises.
The city has since bought up 17 acres of land for the park, but had long claimed it couldn’t afford the skyrocketing value of Brodsky’s 11-acre property, which the tycoon now hopes will net him $325 million.
Massey refused to say what the other offers are, but claimed they are “significantly” higher than the city’s, and that they will settle on a buyer within the next few weeks.
But some are skeptical about the value and the mystery buyers.
The land is currently zoned for heavy industrial use — meaning a buyer couldn’t erect a residential building or hotel there — and both DeBlasio and local Council member say they will not rezone it.
A buyer could build offices and some retail there, but one Brooklyn broker said it is difficult to make a profit building commercial properties on very expensive land — especially on the waterfront, where it can be tricky to build you often need city, state, and federal permits.
“It is hard to do commercial projects if you pay a lot for the land,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s really hard to make it work for the price point.”
The broker wouldn’t speculate on the land’s value, but park activists believe it is worth around $77–$92 million, given the restrictive zoning.
“Brodsky’s fantasy about winning the lotto with a residential valuation is not grounded in reality,” said Williamsburg attorney Adam Perlmutter, a member of activist group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park and chairman of the Open Space Alliance, which advocates for green space in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Perlmutter said his valuation comes from local real-estate brokers, but wouldn’t say who.
Regardless, he and the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park are calling on Brodsky to accept the city’s offer for the good of the community and his own image.
“We think Norman Brodsky and his family should really consider their next steps, because we’re trying to create a public park for all New Yorkers,” he said. “They’re saying $100 million is not enough for them and because of that, the city should not have a public park. That could have an impact on their reputation and legacy.”
Massey declined to say whether Brodsky would consider a do-gooding discount to help the green-space-starved neighborhood finally get its park.
DeBlasio’s offer is good for 60 days, according to the letter he sent Brodsky. A spokesman did not return request for comment on what the city will do after that.