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CitiStorage lot sale talk riles park advocates

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They are not giving up without a fight.

Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents who have been demanding the city purchase the so-called CitiStorage waterfront lot to turn into parkland say the news that two private developers now have an option to buy the land will just commence the latest battle in the fight to make the city keeps its promise.

“They would remiss to underestimate the force and fervor with which the community would respond to that land being residential developed,” said Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park member Jens Rasmussen.

Crains New York reported on Friday that it got word from an unnamed source that two development companies, Midtown Equities and East End Capital, have signed up for an option to purchase the 11-acre waterfront site on Kent Avenue between N. 10th and N. 11th streets where the CityStorage facility burned down in February.

But the city promised a decade ago to purchase that lot and others and use them to nearly triple the size of Bushwick Inlet Park to 28-acres. The city has since purchased the other two lots to make the future size of the park 21 acres, but it has not moved to purchase the CitiStorage lot, which owner Norman Brodsky has claimed he could sell for upwards of $500 million.

But park activists say that the developers are unlikely to purchase the land because it is zoned for manufacturing, and doing so would require great risk.

“Those are some pretty big hurdles to coming in and plopping down $250 million on a property when their options are that curtailed,” said Williamsburg resident and park activist Adam Perlmutter, who has been considering the legal options that the community can use to get the park.

Some communities members said that it makes sense that CitiStorage owner Norman Brodsky would be looking for a way to sell the land that now has the wreckage of the February fire on it, and that it is up to the city to deal with this quickly before a sale goes forward.

“The responsibility lies with the city stepping up to the plate and figuring out how it is going to fulfill its promises,” said Greenpoint resident and activist Katie Naplatarski.

The timing of this news is likely to make a pro-park expansion rally and march planned for this weekend even stronger, said Rasmussen.

“They are handing this to us on a platter,” he said.

Brodsky did not return repeated calls for comment. Neither did Midtown Equities or East End Capital.

Hope of the city purchasing the lot fell to new lows last month, when Mayor DeBlasio made no mention of it while announcing his “One New York” environmental agenda.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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Reasonable discourse

Juan from Gowanus says:
Let this be a lesson to all neighborhoods the city would like to rezone - the City's promises are worth about as much as used toilet paper. The developers will get theirs, you will get the shaft.
May 12, 2015, 5:19 pm
David from Greenpoint says:
This article is worthless. People can yap all they want but the fact remains is that owners of Citistorage can sell to whom they like. Its already zoned for commerical(manufacturing,office and retail) and they can build out to 600,000 sq feet and nobody can do squat. They city shouldve purchased the property 8 years ago when it was 1/10 the cost it is today. From Crains: "A buyer of the site can build around 600,000 square feet of commercial space, including manufacturing, retail and offices. Those uses have become increasingly lucrative in Williamsburg, as the neighborhood has transitioned into a thriving shopping district and office market. At least two builders are already planning speculative office buildings along Kent and Wythe avenues, near the CitiStorage site." the only chance this has of becoming a park is if they go to the BBP model and allow residential on part in return for donating the rest of the land to the city. Local pols are demanding that wont happen. Its binary: BBP model or they sell for market rate to commerical investors.
May 12, 2015, 5:46 pm
Give me a break from Williamsburg says:
Legal options. What a joke. They own the property and can build office space.

Our only hope is a deal where they build residential in the back and we get a park in the frontt.

That's it. End of story.
May 12, 2015, 7:23 pm
jspech from bed-stuy says:
The Community must fight for the park. I remember the promise made by the City ( Bloomberg).There is enough there to delay, delay, any building construction.
Can the be rezone to Park Land?
May 12, 2015, 7:39 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
I love the park they built at Atlantic Yards!
May 12, 2015, 7:42 pm
Laura Hofmann from Greenpoint says:
I'm glad I roll with a crowd that doesn't throw their hands up in the air and surrender, like some of the commenters here. Otherwise, the community would have had a power plant and other noxious uses along the East River. The community has more power than it thinks. They just have to use it.
May 12, 2015, 11:28 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
@david from greenpoint eminent domain can crush the landowners of citi-storage
May 13, 2015, 7:19 am
With Great Power from Responsibility says:
Yes the community does have power, however they will end up voting for the same parties that always do and in the end will get shafted. For example, where is the investigation into the fire? How come the city doesn't take over the property like it does others it deems "unsafe"? Why does the city only abuse eminent domain when it benefits the wealthy? I mean if you can kick people out of their homes to build a rusty arena surely you can pay the current owner and take over the lot.
May 13, 2015, 7:25 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Another promise made and broken by the city to the middle and lower classes. And even when a Democratic mayor is elected, nothing changes. This is disgraceful. Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn bridge park, etc. The new corruption is stealing from the public with the help and assistance of government. This does not bode well for the trust in government.
May 13, 2015, 9:08 am
BloombergTouchedMe from Private Areas says:
@bkmanhatman the city has to pay fair value for eminent domain properties, which appears to be about $250mm. That money has bee sopped up by "friends" of our leadership for decades in graft, waste and theft.

The fire looks more and more suspicious. They filled our lungs with toxic air and are now planning to add insult to injury by dumping another 5000 people in the parkland and on the L train.

Bloomberg is magic. Ta-da!

Comrade DeBlasio is an ineffectual goofball, he'll sell the whole of north brooklyn down the river for a few dozen affordable rent-stab apartments.
May 13, 2015, 9:47 am
Trollerskates from Moving target says:
Bow down to your real estate overloads and beg for lubrication.
May 14, 2015, 12:25 pm
who what from overcrowded & crumbling says:
Make Brodsky pay taxes based upon the '250m' market value, not the few million per public records.
May 14, 2015, 9:31 pm

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