The Real Deal New York

Posts Tagged ‘eminent domain’

  • The answer to rescuing New York City homeowners from their underwater mortgages lies in the use of a foreclosure-prevention tool pioneered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, according to Cornell University law professor and Century Foundation fellow Robert Hockett. [more]

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  • East Harlem Media Entertainment Cultural Center and real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey (inset)

    East Harlem Media Entertainment Cultural Center and real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey (inset)

    Several East Harlem business owners are ramping up efforts to fight condemnation proceedings that would ultimately lead to their eviction. [more]

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  • 6802 Fort Parkway

    6802 Fort Hamilton Parkway

    The city could soon seize a privately-owned Brooklyn library via eminent domain.

    The McKinley Park branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at 6802 Fort Hamilton Parkway on the corner of 68th Street leases the space from a BMO Harris Bank branch in Arizona, and pays $20,000 per month in rent — a rate the library’s executive president says it cannot afford. [more]

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  • The use of eminent domain to seize debt to help borrowers could lead ratings firm Standard & Poor’s to demand greater protections for investors. Eminent domain, of the type being proposed in Richmond, Calif., creates an “additional risk of default” that needs to be accounted for in the form of more credit support, or protection, such as some classes of deals taking losses before others, according to an S&P report by analysts James Taylor and Sharif Mahdavian. [more]

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  • Attorney Michael Rikon, the rendering for Willets Point when eminent domain was pursued and New York City Economic Development Corporation president Seth Pinsky

    After a lengthy eminent domain battle over Queens’ Willets Point, local business owners are still demanding that the city pay their legal fees, which tally in excess of $1 million, the New York Daily News reported. According to attorneys for the businesses, the city became obligated to reimburse their opponents’ legal fees after dropping a bid for the site in favor of another 23-acre development parcel near Citi Field last June. [more]

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  • The general counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency has come out against a proposed plan to seize underwater mortgage by eminent domain, the Wall Street Journal reported. Alfred Pollard, who said he spoke for himself and not the FHFA, said the practice, proposed by municipalities and private investors would potentially erode the distinction between secured and unsecured lending. [more]

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  • Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve
    Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, declined to comment on the controversial plan to use eminent domain law to help underwater homeowners today when California Congresswoman Maxine Waters grilled him on the subject at a House Financial Services Committee meeting, covered by CNBC (see video after the jump).

    The plan, originally proposed by San Francisco-based investment firm Mortgage Resolution Partners, calls for local governments to buy mortgages at the fair market value of their corresponding homes. The government would then help the homeowner refinance the mortgage and unburden them from underwater loans. … [more]

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  • Ken Bentsen, SIFMA executive vice president for public policy and advocacy

    Wall Street’s largest lobbying firm, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, is crying foul at calls for the use of eminent domain laws to seize and restructure underwater mortgages, Bloomberg News reported. The firm is concerned that forcing private entities to sell bonds at a fair price will lead to a slippery slope of further government buyouts.

    “We have very serious concerns and strong objection to the concept of using eminent domain to seize a mortgage for the purpose of restructuring it, no matter how meritorious the goal might be,” Ken Bentsen, SIFMA executive vice president for public policy and advocacy said. “We think it raises the serious constitutional issues of a government entity overstepping its bounds.” [more]

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  • Rober Shiller

    Lowering mortgage balances on a national scale to a level that disincentivizes defaulting on underwater homes would save both banks and homeowners money, while kick starting the housing market. But a lack of communication and government interest has prevented such action thus far. According to a New York Times editorial by Robert Shiller, one of the professors behind the Case-Shiller Index, fixing the housing market will require collective action on the parts of banks, government and homeowners.

    Those who own mortgages, home equity lines of credit, residential mortgage-backed securities and shares in banks and finance companies, “live all over the world and have no way of communicating with each other, let alone coming to an agreement to give homeowners a break, “ Schiller said.  [more]

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  • Attorney Michael Rikon and the rendering for Willets Point when eminent domain was pursued

    Just because the city has scrapped its eminent domain plan for Willets Point, doesn’t mean its fight with neighborhood property owners is over. The New York Daily News reported that about two dozen business owners, through attorney Michael Rikon, will petition the city to repay the legal fees they incurred when fighting the proposal. [more]

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  • From left: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Related's Stephen Ross and Sterling's Fred Wilpon

    The Related Companies and the real estate firm controlled by the New York Mets ownership, Sterling Equities, are closing in on a deal to develop a mall on Willets Point, the Wall Street Journal reported. The proposal calls for significant changes to the vision laid out by the Bloomberg administration, most notably bringing more retail to the long-awaited $3 billion project’s first phase. [more]

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  • Two more holdouts are standing in Bruce Ratner’s way at Atlantic Yards, except in this case, the developer doesn’t want to evict them, he just wants them to let him onto their properties in order to do a little underground construction work. According to the Daily News, the state is taking two Atlantic Avenue businesses — museum and trade show shop Global Exhibition Services and a Storage Mart — to court to force them into letting Ratner install underground steel cables known as tie-backs beneath their buildings, a necessary step for finishing the Carlton Avenue bridge portion of the project. The businesses have thus far rebuffed Ratner’s efforts for fear of property damage, but the state is arguing that eminent domain would allow it to condemn the properties if it had to in order to get the work done. … [more]

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  • Upwards of 50 of protesters gathered outside Columbia University’s employment center yesterday evening, alleging that the university hasn’t lived up to its promise to create jobs as part of its $6.3 billion Manhattanville expansion, according to DNAinfo. As The Real Deal reported earlier this week, the Coalition to Preserve Community claims that it’s been repeatedly rebuffed in its efforts to obtain employment statistics from the employment center, which opened five years ago near the expansion site. … [more]

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    Columbia University

    A local activist group is planning to gather outside Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus tomorrow evening to protest the university’s $6.3 billion expansion plan, putting officials on the defensive.

    “Hey Columbia, where are the jobs?” taunted a statement by the Coalition to Preserve Community sent to members of the press this morning. The group alleges that Columbia, which in December received the U.S. Supreme Court’s green light to proceed with construction at its 17-acre Manhattanville site, had falsely touted the creation of 7,000 jobs in order to get the plan approved. But now that construction has begun, the CPC says it’s been repeatedly rebuffed in its efforts to obtain employment statistics from the Columbia University Employment Information Center, which opened five years ago near the expansion site.

    In a statement provided to The Real Deal, a Columbia spokesperson said the university has hired 900 local residents for full-time, part-time and temporary positions since the employment center opened. … [more]

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  • Time is running out for the holdouts in Queens’ Willets Point, where the city is planning to make its first move towards seizing a 20-acre swath of land through eminent domain next week. According to the Wall Street Journal, the parcel represents the first phase of the 62-acre development project, for which the city will begin soliciting bids from developers in April. Among the developers who have previously expressed interest in the project are the Related Companies, Muss Development and the Wilpon Family’s Sterling Equities. … [more]

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  • Columbia University can move forward with plans for a $6.3 billion expansion after the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by local businesses whose properties may be subject to eminent domain, Crain’s reported. The justices refused to question findings by a state development agency, Empire State Development Corp., saying that the area is blighted and that the expansion has a legitimate public purpose. The 17-acre site in Manhattanville would add more than 6.8 million square feet to the university. … [more]

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  • A petition for certiorari filed by Harlem property owners in the eminent domain case concerning the proposed expansion of Columbia University into Harlem by way of the Empire State Development Corporation will be consider by the Supreme Court of the United States today, with a decision to grant or deny to be released Dec. 13. Similar to the Atlantic Yards case, the property owners in the Columbia case have disputed the ESDC’s findings, which say that their properties are blighted. The ESDC is the same agency that enabled Forest City Ratner to take private homes and businesses for the Atlantic Yards arena. The blog of the Supreme Court has also included the Columbia University eminent domain case on its list of “Petitions to Watch.” [No Land Grab][more]

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  • Despite numerous setbacks that have delayed development, Columbia University officials say they’re moving full steam ahead on the school’s Manhattanville expansion project, in the wake of the State Court of Appeals ruling in their favor June 24, according to Crain’s. The court’s decision, which authorizes the use of eminent domain in Columbia’s proposed $6.3 billion project, officially gave the school the green light on its 16-building expansion, which will stretch from Broadway to 12th Avenue and from 125th to 133rd streets. But the protracted court fight to gain development rights through eminent domain came with a price for Columbia: the school says it’s now years behind schedule, and swift action is needed to get back on track. The first phase of the project, a four-building cluster, for example, will miss its target completion date by five years, with estimates now showing it may not be finished until 2020. [Crain's]

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  • The New York Court of Appeals has upheld the state’s use of eminent domain to seize land for Columbia University’s proposed $6.3 billion, 17-acre West Harlem expansion plan, the Associated Press reported. The Empire State Development Corp. had argued that the seizures were justified because the area was blighted. The Columbia project, the agency said, would improve the neighborhood with new housing, laboratories and two acres of public open space. In December, that argument was rejected by a state appellate court, which said the general public would not benefit from the expansion of a private university. Columbia already owns all but 9 percent of the land it intends to build upon but wants the new Manhattanville campus to run uninterrupted with an interconnected underground facility beneath it. [AP] 

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  • The New York Court of Appeals has upheld the state’s use of eminent domain to seize land for Columbia University’s proposed $6.3 billion, 17-acre West Harlem expansion plan, the Associated Press reported. The Empire State Development Corp. had argued that the seizures were justified because the area was blighted. The Columbia project, the agency said, would improve the neighborhood with new housing, laboratories and two acres of public open space. In December, that argument was rejected by a state appellate court, which said the general public would not benefit from the expansion of a private university. Columbia already owns all but 9 percent of the land it intends to build upon but wants the new Manhattanville campus to run uninterrupted with an interconnected underground facility beneath it. [AP] 

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