For octogenarian megadeveloper Sheldon Solow, 2008 certainly ended with a bang. He was dragged into the Marc Dreier mess (aka The Other Scam) when it was reported that the lawyer?accused of bilking hundreds of millions from hedge fund managers?posed as a representative for Solow. Then, he was hit with a lawsuit from one of his lenders, Citibank, over the 9.2-acre former Con Ed site along the East River near the United Nations, a massive mixed-use project that has yet to progress beyond the ugly flattened pit phase. But Solow's luck may turn in 2009, Eliot Brown reports in the Observer, because the litigious mogul stands to collect $250 million in taxpayer money to develop the East River waterfront land. Say what?
It all has to do with the state's Brownfield Cleanup Program, which gives developers tax credits for cleaning up and building on contaminated sites. Last year, the State Legislature set a cap of $35 million on the benefits, but Solow's plan has dragged on for so long that it would be grandfathered in under the old, limitless guidelines. The Department of Environmental Conservation, under Gov. Spitzer, ruled the site ineligible after the Department of Environmental Conservation, under Gov. Pataki, previously gave Solow the green light to cash in. Solow sued, and a judge decided in his favor in October (the DEC is appealing the decision). If Solow manages to get the pay-out in this strained economic time, will the project actually get built? A Solow spokesman told the Observer it would, "at the appropriate time, consistent with the plans approved by the City Council."
· Solow Tact [NYO]
· Sheldon Solow coverage [Curbed]