$100 Million Still Not Enough for Final Piece of Bushwick Inlet Park
June 16, 2016
The city is only one purchase away from obtaining the final puzzle piece needed to complete Bushwick Inlet Park: an 11-acre piece of land owned by Norman Brodsky and Samuel Kaplan of CitiStorage.
On June 9, 2016, New York City made a major offer of $100 million.
Brodsky officially refused the offer on June 11, under the pretext that he can get more money for the property.
Now that the mayor’s office has made a formal offer, Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents must wait and see how the city will move forward with its efforts to make good on the 28-acre park the city promised in 2005. That’s assuming the owners don’t ultimately accept the offer, which is good for 60 days.
This offer follows a lot of activity: a fire at the CitiStorage site in January 2015; a move by Mayor de Blasio to cut off residential rezoning in January 2016; and a total of $225 million in land purchases, including a $53 million, 7-acre purchase in March.
According to Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, Brodsky has hired Paul Massey of Cushman and Wakefield, who claims the city’s offer is just one of many bids on the table.
While we don’t currently know who else is looking to acquire the CitiStorage property, we do know that the land might not even be worth the $100 million the city offered. According to Massey, the parcel, which is 6.75 acres, is worth $325 million. This is about $540 per square foot. De Blasio’s offer values the land at approximately $166 per square foot.
In a June 10 press release, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park broke down the value of the space, explaining that the city’s 2009 purchase of a parcel of the park during a condemnation proceeding triggered the implementation of “The Miller Doctrine,” which originates from a 1943 Supreme Court case and states that “a property owner in a condemnation proceeding cannot profit from any increase in value to lands surrounding the condemned property.” Meaning: what the city paid for that parcel should be the base for what it pays for the remaining parcels to create the entire park—including the CitiStorage property.
When Mayor de Blasio cut off residential zoning earlier this year, they actually closed off a potential escape hatch in the Doctrine that states a property can be valued at a higher zoning designation within a certain amount of time—in this case, about 3-5 years.
Gothamist reported that according to Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for City Hall, “the administration believes this is a fair and appropriate offer. In fact, this offer represents approximately $3 million more per acre than the average price paid for other sites contained within the Bushwick Inlet Park footprint.”
There is also legislation in the works that would allow Empire State Development to sieze the CitiStorage land and hand it over to the city—an effort to make sure the city ultimately keeps its promise.