Community leaders call on city to seize CitiStorage site with eminent domain

City Hall’s offer of $100M for Norman Brodsky’s Williamsburg property expired Monday

CitiStorage site (inset: Norman Brodsky and Bill de Blasio)
CitiStorage site (inset: Norman Brodsky and Bill de Blasio)

Brooklyn politicians and park advocates are urging the city to use eminent domain to seize Norman Brodsky’s CitiStorage site on the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront.

Brodsky’s parcel at Kent Avenue and North 11th Street is the last puzzle piece the city needs to complete a 27-acre waterfront park in Northern Brooklyn.

The city’s $100 million offer on the property – one Brodsky called a low-ball offer – expired Monday. Now, the local community is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to use eminent domain to seize the site, according to DNAinfo.

“There is no time to delay,” U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wrote in a letter to the mayor. “Given the owner’s intransigence, the city must exercise eminent domain.”

Cushman & Wakefield’s [TRDataCustom] Paul Massey, who just officially announced his bid for mayor, is marketing the site for sale with an asking price of $325 million.

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Despite the calls for eminent domain, the mayor’s office said it is still open to negotiating a price with Brodsky.

“A negotiated sale is the most expedient way to acquire this property and the City’s offer is fair,” mayoral spokesperson Natalie Grybauskas said. “The city remains open to discussions with the owner about ways to guarantee that the community’s needs are met.”

Grybauskas added that using eminent domain could actually end up costing the city more because a judge would ultimately decided the fair value of the land. Park advocates, on the other hand, have argued that a judge could value the land at the neighborhood’s pre-2005 rezoning value.

The city’s lawyers could present the argument that the land would never have been rezoned if City Hall hadn’t intended to build a park, and therefore it should pay the pre-zoning price for the land.

The property is zoned for 600,000 square feet of commercial development. A fire at the property in early 2015 destroyed the CitiStorage warehouse. [DNAinfo] – Rich Bockmann

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