Sunset Park-to-Queens streetcar plans deliver excitement and concerns

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At a meeting on Wednesday addressing the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (aka the de Blasio Streetcar) Councilman Antonio Reynoso proposed Bedford Ave be closed to traffic to encourage more visitors to the area. (Not that we need any more.)

The bustling thoroughfare Bedford Avenue could be turned into a pedestrian plaza and a right-of-way for the proposed streetcar, a city councilman suggested at a Wednesday night. [Read more…]

Times says Bushwick Inlet Park could cost another half billion in “ransom” money

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Better late than never, the Times has finally tackled the Bushwick Inlet Park controversy. Adding up the numbers, they write that the city — which has already spent $225 million on the park — is a “textbook study in civic entropy and how public developments go awry.” And $225 million is just the beginning. The owner of the CitiStorage site (which lies at the center of the projected park and recently suffered a very suspicious fire) now wants a reported $500 million for his 11-acre lot. “The city will not, and should never, pay that kind of ransom,” says the Times:

Unsurprisingly, the first turn toward the absurd involved a lawsuit. Through eminent domain, the city offered $12 million for the rental truck lot. When the owner found a sympathetic judge, the price tag leapt into the stratosphere, to more than $90 million. The owner of CitiStorage, next door, Norman Brodsky, naturally assumed he had also hit the jackpot. Crain’s reported recently that he now wants $500 million for his 11-acre site. If the city won’t pony up, his site will cleave the prospective park in two…. [Read more…]

Forget the park we were promised…. suspicious CitiStorage fire site to be sold to developers

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Norman Brodsky, Photo: Buck Enni

This is not a huge surprise — money talks in this town. But still, fuck this guy and the bureaucrats who will let it happen.

A partnership between the real estate investment groups Midtown Equities and East End Capital has secured an option to purchase the most closely watched development site in Brooklyn, according to sources. The two firms have signed a contract to acquire CitiStorage, an 11-acre parcel on the Williamsburg waterfront where they can build retail and office space. It wasn’t immediately clear what the two firms are negotiating to pay. Norman Brodsky, who owns the land and built the warehouses on it, told Crain’s earlier this year that he had received offers for more than $250 million for the site. [Read more…]

Nearly one hundred sites including Green-Wood Cemetery could lose their landmark preservation status without public hearings

Green-Wood Cemetery & the Pepsi sign in LIC, credit: The Real Deal

Green-Wood Cemetery & the Pepsi sign in LIC, credit: The Real Deal

Of course, this is just confirmation that developers call the shots in New York these days. We’ve already lost The Domino Sugar factory to the whims (and wallets) of Two Trees. Green-Wood Cemetery and Long Island City’s iconic Pepsi sign could be next:

The Landmarks Preservation Commission plans to remove almost 100 sites and two historic districts from consideration for landmark status without formal public input, despite most being on the agenda for decades, officials say. Among them are the iconic Pepsi sign in Long Island City, Union Square Park, the Bergdorf Goodman building in Manhattan and the more-than century-old Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn… [Read more…]

Pat Kiernan was at The Gutter, de Blasio visited The Meatball Shop

So while Christie and Cuomo have panic attacks — residents remain unphased – and life returns to normal in Williamsburg and New York.

Pat Kiernan bowled at The Gutter on Saturday. He posted this picture on Facebook and said “Nice crowd at The Gutter tonight after a tough 48 hours. And I just bowled three strikes.”

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And here’s de Blasio at The Meatball Shop in Greenwich Village. He should have come to Willamsburg, but still…

 

Mayor’s office gets additional affordable housing for Domino despite Two Trees’ “skillfully framed” PR campaign

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Jed Walentas of Two Trees and Mayor de Blasio [via]

From a press release sent by the mayor’s office:

[Two Trees] will provide an additional 110,000 square feet of affordable housing as part of the project, for a total of 537,000 square feet of affordable housing. The proposal will create 700 affordable apartments covering a range of incomes, including a significant number of units sized for families. Affordable apartments will be integrated throughout the complex, ensuring a dynamic mixed-income community. Unlike prior proposals, all of those units will be permanently affordable. Work on the first building will begin in December 2014.

This is, of course, great news. Especially since The Times and the Daily News have shaped the debate in a way that frames de Blasio’s actions as grandstanding or too aggressive. The latter said de Blasio would likely “doom” the Domino project with his “hellbent” scheme to boost affordable housing. [Read more…]

Big baby Jed Walentas — who’s Daddy built DUMBO — threatens to revert to hated Domino Sugar plan

Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management, credit Daly News

Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management playing with his blocks, credit Daily News

Turns out Jed doesn’t like de Blasio’s insistence on creating more affordable housing in Williamsburg. Like any pampered man-child, he’s decided to throw a temper tantrum should his Domino Sugar rezoning requests fail to be approved:

The mayor’s administration is insisting that the developer add even more space for affordable housing and, as a result, fewer market-rate apartments, in exchange for the zoning changes that Mr. Walentas needs to build his towers with spectacular views of Midtown Manhattan.

Mr. Walentas is balking, and has even threatened to revert to the older, unpopular plan.

“I’d very much like to work this out with them,” Mr. Walentas said on Thursday. “But what they’re currently asking for is not workable.”

With the New York Planning Commission set to vote on the project on Wednesday, Domino Sugar has become a test of the mayor’s resolve to “reset” the city’s relationship with developers and extract more concessions from them, with a goal of building or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing. [Read more…]

The Times printed a 1000 word smear piece on de Blasio accusing him of being a thoughtful leader who listens to people

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Given the Times‘ disappointing endorsement of Christine “no specific plan to require the richest New Yorkers to pay more in taxes” Quinn for mayor, this odd piece on de Blasio is hardly surprising. It’s central premise suggests that the mayor of New York can only govern adequately by being a narcissistic prick, like Bloomberg or Giuliani.

The Times sums up its position at the top of the piece: “an examination of Mr. de Blasio’s management of Mrs. Clinton’s first run for office, however, reveals that his inclinations — inclusive and easygoing but frequently indecisive — could be agonizingly inefficient in a high-pressure, ever-shifting situation.”

Agonizingly inefficient? Ouch.

Then, they spend the rest of the piece admonishing him for being, brace yourself, a thoughtful team player. Here are some of the more damning and scandalous accusations from the article, “In 2000, a War Room Didn’t Fit de Blasio’s Style.”

Bill de Blasio is:

• “very friendly”

• “a good listener.” [Read more…]