From the Queens Chronicle:
For the past nine years Sharif El Fouly has been leasing most of a building he owns in Astoria to the Baccelaureate School for Global Education. Now, the city’s School Construction Authority wants the whole building, located at 34-12 36th Avenue.
The SCA isn’t offering to buy the property though, Fouly said; instead, it seeks to aquire it through a process called “condemnation,” which involves seizing the property without the owner’s consent.
The Department of Education confirmed that the public approval process for acquiring the property has begun, although spokesman William Havemann said the SCA typically tries to negotiate with owners before taking properties without their consent.
Fouly said he wants to keep the property but is more than willing to negotiate lease options. He added that his requests to sit down and talk with the SCA have fallen on deaf ears.
“A month and a half ago, [the SCA] said, ‘That’s the law, and we’re going to exercise it — we’re going to take the building,’” he said. “They never once came to the table.”
The DOE declined to comment on that assertion.