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At Last, City Moves to Acquire Final Parcel of Bushwick Inlet Park

The city has offered $100 million to acquire the CitiStorage site

UPDATE: Several real estate experts have now weighed in on the offer made by the city for the CitiStorage site, and they contend that the de Blasio administration significantly undervalued the property, Crain's reports. Even at the most reasonable rates, taking into account the environmental remediation required for the site, it would be priced at about $200-$300 per square foot. That works out to anywhere between $120 million-$180 million.

On the city's part, this might be more of a strategic maneuver towards the eminent domain proceedings. If the owner doesn't agree to their amount, at least they can show that they made a good faith offer, and would likely also have the backing of local residents, according to Crain's.

The city finally offered to purchase the last piece of land that would complete Bushwick Inlet Park on the Williamsburg waterfront, only for the owner of the land to reject the offer, the Wall Street Journal reports. That rejection hasn’t been confirmed by the owner or the city, but a source familiar with the dealings said as much to the WSJ as well as Gothamist.

The CitiStorage site, which burned down in a fire last year, was the last parcel left to acquire to complete the 28-acre park. Since the Bloomberg administration had promised Williamsburg residents a waterfront park as part of the 2005 rezoning of the neighborhood, the city had acquired 9-acres of land for the park for $225 million up until this year. In March, the city purchased another 7-acres (the Bayside Fuel Oil Depot site) for $53 million. And now the city is offering $100 million for the CitiStorage site.

The owner of the property, Norman Brodsky, was looking for anywhere between $250-$500 million for the site, according to multiple news sources, and had also hired Cushman & Wakefield to market the site for a potential 15-story office complex. The site has been on the market since April, asking $325 million, according to the WSJ.

The offer on the part of the city however has been met with a positive response from both local elected officials and residents of the neighborhood, who have now waited over a decade for the completion of the park. Local activists, led by the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park have criticized Brodsky likening him to Donald Trump with the lawyer representing the group calling him "greedy," according to Gothamist.

If Brodsky does in fact reject the offer, the city could acquire the land through eminent domain proceedings. In that type of case, the land will be valued as a heavy industrial site, and won’t have to take into account the soaring prices around it. The Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park told Gothamist that that would put the value somewhere between $73 and $88 million, and that the city was actually offering a lot more. The city can still move forward with the eminent domain proceedings even if the land is sold to a different buyer.

If the offer is accepted however, the city would have spent close to $350 million on Bushwick Inlet Park so far, not including the cost to build the undeveloped parcels of land. In comparison, $400 million has been spent on Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is three times larger than Bushwick Inlet. So far, a sports field, a playground, and park office have been completed at Bushwick Inlet Park.

The funds offered by the city became available after the city came to an early budget agreement with the City Council on Thursday for $82.1 billion. In addition to Bushwick Inlet, the budget also allocated significant funds to summer programs for kids, and for public health facilities.