Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Of Interest This Afternoon

In November 2018, the Common Council passed a resolution authorizing the sale of 427 Warren Street, the old police station, to the highest bidder.

Today, at 3:00 p.m., the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA)--the mayor, the treasurer, and the Common Council president--will meet in the Council Chamber at City Hall to discuss the conditions of the sale. Such things as financial history of the buyer, schedule of development, prohibitions against transfer of ownership, developing affordable housing were mentioned at last night's informal Common Council meeting. Council president Tom DePietro said of the effort, "As a city, we want to get more than just the most amount of money from it."


  1. I don't understand. What's wrong with the City getting the most money that it can from a sale? And even then, why would you constrain yourself to a "highest bidder" proposition instead of setting a fair market price and trying to get that price? Does the City really want to put "affordable housing" there? Wouldn't it be better to take the money and run---and put that money to the highest and best use for the public good?

    1. There's nothing wrong with the City maximizing its profits on the sale provided it doesn't mean that the property isn't developed in a manner that is the most useful for the city as a whole. The City has a reasonable and real interest, for instance, in seeing this parcel developed over 1 story -- it's out of place, shape, whatever, with the balance of the street wall and represents a waste of air rights (within which housing and offices, studios, etc., can be located). Merely seeking the highest price is short-sighted as it opens the property up to unscrupulous developers and flippers.

    2. That assumes that normal zoning, planning, and building processes and regulations would somehow be waived, which I doubt. Why should the City, as a property-owner, have rights beyond the sale that are any different than normal property owners selling a property?

    3. My comment assumes none of what you posit: zoning sets limits, it doesn't determine design or use. And the City, unlike its inhabitants, is not a mere property owner: it is the one and only steward of its suzerainty and the macro decision maker in this regard. As such, it has a unique and unassignable obligation to ensure that the most limited resource it has -- real estate (esp. in a 2 square mile city and esp. when that real estate is on the main drag) -- is rationally and equitably alienated and used.

  2. And "the City, unlike its inhabitants"? Huh? "The City" IS its inhabitants. "Mere property owner"? Huh? "The one and only steward of its suzerainty"? Huh? What is this, the Court of Louis IV? "A unique and unassignable obligation"? Huh? Is this the Fourth Rieich? This string of legal preponderances is all the more reason for the City to put the building on the market for a good market price (forget the highest bidder business with all it's political trappings to benefit the benificiaries of those trappings) and move on. My god, the last thing I as a citizen is to be "rationally and equitably alienated and used." Sounds a bit like 1793 Paris.