On August 8th, when time ran out on Mayor de Blasio’s $100M offer to purchase the last piece of Bushwick Inlet Park from to Norm Brodsky, park advocates took their case to steps of City Hall.
State officials, Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Joe Lentol, proclaimed the use of eminent domain as an alternative to obtain this park’s missing piece. An eminent domain bill has been looming in the state legislature since May, and if the state grabs the land in this way they would relay it to the city. However there is a concern that this strategy would be in the owner’s favor for it might raise the price significantly above the city’s offer of $100M.
Norm Brodsky, the owner of the parcel that once housed CitiStorage before it was consumed by a fire, has claimed his property is worth at least $325M. It is reported he purchased the lot for $5M in 1990.
The City is still hoping to make a deal without eminent domain. The $100M is still in the budget, confirmed Public Advocate Letitia James. A spokesperson for the mayor stated, “A negotiated sale is the most expedient way to acquire this property, and the City’s offer is fair.” On August 18th, Mayor de Blasio declared his intention to build more parks. This was paired with the news that he was investing $150M to upgrade five anchor parks (one in each borough).
A letter from Community Board 1 sent to Mayor de Blasio last October maintains 2005’s rezoning of 185 blocks on the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfront came with a promise of more green space and affordable housing. In the interim 18,000 housing units have been constructed or renovated, which has made an area known for having one of the lowest per capita open space rations go from bad to worse.
Time will tell what is in the offing. Time continues to be a major player in the effort to make good the City’s promise for a park. A promise that is a tweenager.