From the Daily News:
If the city's controversial plan to develop Williamsburg's Broadway Triangle goes forward, at least six small businesses will get the boot - and others will be left with an uncertain future.
While the loudest battles over the plan to build 1,895 low-rise apartments on the 31-acre Triangle site have been over the allegations of political corruption, little attention has been focused on the fate of the existing small businesses in the area.
"I'm just living in limbo," said Ernie Wong, 33, whose family owns Shanghai Stainless Product & Design Co. on Gerry St. and employs 19 people.
The Triangle, located on the border between Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant, is one of a dwindling number of areas in the city zoned for manufacturing.
The city plans to use eminent domain to force five property owners to sell. Another 14 businesses could be displaced by zoning rules that will limit their activities.
Wong, whose immigrant parents started the restaurant equipment business in 1989, received a letter in July from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development informing him that if the development plan goes through, it "would authorize the City to acquire your property."
"The streets were rampant [then] with drug dealers, prostitutes, crack vials on the floor. "Now that the area's much nicer, the city wants to come in," he said. "It's wrong."
HPD officials said displaced businesses will get help finding new space and paying relocation expenses. But the agency said the details won't be worked out until the plan gets final approval from the City Council.
Opponents charge the land was handed over to two politically connected nonprofits without a fair bidding process. They say Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the Hasidic group United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg used their ties to Brooklyn Democratic boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg) to be tapped as developers. Lopez and the groups have denied the allegation.
This city’s government has its policies backwards: they generally ban market-driven conversion of industrial space for residential use, while in other areas, like Red Hook’s waterfront and now the Broadway Triangle, they push out thriving manufacturing and distribution in favor of grand urban renewal plans for the wealthy and low-income alike.