[Photo by Joe Schumacher]
In downtown Brooklyn, the reality of the forthcoming Brooklyn Nets stadium begins to sink in. Neighborhood weblog DailyHeights reports on 475 Dean Street, one of the buildings slated for demolition: "People are leaving, buildings are coming down, neighborhoods are going to be erased." In the midst of the outrage, residents pause to hold a stoop sale. Notes a wag on the DailyHeights message board, "The owners at 475 Dean have made out like bandits (some have doubled their money) so I don't feel any sympathy at all. I say 'take the money and run'!" Let's all hum along.
Meantime, the resistance forces at Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn weigh in with another press release, this one cannily demanding a $6 million finder's fee from the MTA for forcing another $50 million out of Bruce Ratner to pay for the land. Full prose after the jump.
· Residents Flee 475 Dean Street, Pause to Hold Stoop Sale [DailyHeights]
· Future Home of the Nets? [WATPA?]
Press release from Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn:
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn
To Request Finder's Fee From MTA
Community Group Seeks $6.0008 for Raising Ratner Bid Plus Printing and Mailing Reimbursement
NEW YORK, NY—Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), the leader of the coalition fighting Forest City Ratner's (FCR) arena and 17 skyscraper gated complex situated on top of an existing neighborhood, will seek a finder's fee from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the group's efforts which led to the $50 million increase of Ratner's low-ball offer for the 8.5 acre Vanderbilt Yard. “We got the MTA $50 million more than they would have gotten without us," said DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein. "At a 12% finder's fee that comes out to $6 million. Plus it cost us around $800 in printing and mailing to alert developers to the property sale, which the MTA didn't really do. That comes out to $6.0008 million, which we would accept in cash or check. We know that may sound like a lot of money, but it's much less than the finder's fee we were expecting based on the MTA's appraised value of $214.5 million--then they'd owe us $19.7408 million. Too bad they accepted a bid $114.5 million less than their own appraised value."
MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow dismissed his own agency's two-month-old appraisal, saying that $214.5 million "is just some guy's idea of what it's worth." Goldstein said, "Why would Mr. Kalikow's agency hire just 'some guy' to do their appraisal, and then ignore that guy? Shouldn't they hire an appraiser instead of 'some guy?' That's odd behavior. Hopefully Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is not 'just some grassroots community group,' in the MTA Chairman's cataractous eyes."
Because the MTA held a rigged bidding process and barely advertised a call for bids, DDDB took it upon themselves to advertise the MTA's Request for Proposals (RFP) by mailing it with additional information to one hundred developers around the United States. When only one developer, Extell Development Company, responded, DDDB encouraged them to submit a proposal and they did. Extell bid $150 million while FCR bid $50 million. Because of the unexpected competition to the Ratner bid, the MTA was able to demand more money and they got $50 million more. The new Ratner bid of $100 million was still much lower than the Extell bid, and less than half of the MTA's $214.5 million appraised value for their rail yards.
“We deserve this finder's fee. But if the MTA refuses to pay it to us, at the very least we would want reimbursement for our costs of $800 and perhaps some monthly MetroCards for our efforts and time,” concluded Mr. Goldstein.
· MTA, Ratner Shake Hands on a Deal Well Done [Curbed]