Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lack of living wage may become an issue for TDC

From the Daily News:

The $800 million plan for a complex of condos, shops and a YMCA set to be built atop a municipal parking lot got a thumbs up on April 5 from Community Board 7.

But area business owners aren't raising the white flag just yet in their fight against the controversial project.

"Every week goes by and I hear the developer talk about this great place, but they're killing us little by little," said Ikhwan Rim, a jewelry store owner and president of the Union St. Merchants Association. "I feel very hopeless because nobody is helping us."

Members of the merchants group have turned to Jim Gerson, chairman of the Flushing Business Improvement District. Gerson has hired the Parkside Group to lobby for area businesses.

"I thought that the merchants of Flushing should have a voice," said Gerson, who hired Parkside through his real estate company, Gerson Properties, rather than through the BID, which is prohibited from lobbying activities.

Rim said he and his fellow merchants are chipping in donations to Gerson. "We have a common goal," he said.

That goal includes securing funding for merchants during construction. The city Economic Development Corp. has allocated $2million for a business assistance program and City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) is ironing out its details.

From the Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

Our own take is that the Parksiders will sit this one out-and given their propinquity to the powers that be in Queens, this is probably a good thing. Taking on the battle against this over development-one that involves a breach of faith by the city and EDC over the original agreement with former council member (and now comptroller) John Liu-will involve bumping ugly with some powerful development proponents; and Parkside's skillful insider status would prove to be as much of a potential drawback as it would be an asset.

Gee, isn't this project being built on land that is currently publicly owned? And isn't the sale price below market rate-an indication of a level of public subsidy? Ipso facto, shouldn't the slated 250,000 sq. ft. of retail space be subject to the same living wage requirement that the folks up at the Kingsbridge Armory insisted on? Hmm.

In addition, the way in which this development is being structured, it could well prove to be a knife in the heart to the area's vibrant, but struggling, small businesses. Why? Because as planner Paul Graziano has pointed out, "The developer will introduce a ‘validation’ system – under which local businesses will likely be forced to pay for at least part of their patrons’ parking fees or lose business to other business areas."

And the parking provided-lower than the number agreed to by Liu-is inadequate for the amount of traffic that Flushing Commons will generate in the already gridlocked downtown. As Garaziano goes on to explain in his fact sheet on the project: "Loss of adequate, competitively-priced parking will very likely lead to serious job losses and small-business closings in Downtown Flushing.

• A ‘validation’ system will amount to a new tax imposed on small business in Flushing, as they will be compelled to subsidize customer/client parking to remain competitive.

• After the sale, as things stand now the developer will legally be entitled to deny parking to local businesses in favor of his own tenants, or charge non-tenants higher rates."

Well I don't know about Parkside, but today at 10:30am is the Borough Board meeting. Should be a fun time for all.


Anonymous said...

"Lack of living wage may become an issue for TDC"

Not to mention lack of living space!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention lack of ethics!

The Flushing Phantom said...

What ho?

Where is the elusive, reclusive and inscrutable Wellington Chen these days?

Is he not the little man behind it all?

Why does he continue to keep his face hidden from public view while he lets his hired "white boy" Michael Meyers front for his Shanghai development group?

Hasn't the "little duke" been manipulating the development of Flushing quietly back stage for the past 25 years?

Why are he and Shulman frequently pictured together?

Why does Marilyn Bitterman always think he's the "bee's knees"?

Did he ever show favor to any CB7 staff or members in order to have his way with Flushing?

"Let us return for a moment to the thrilling days of yesteryear...
the ghost of Donald Manes rides again"!

Anonymous said...

Wellington "the duke or hazard" Chen:

"Why does Marilyn Bitterman always think he's the "bee's knees"?"

Check her and her husbands passports. Fultonex, one of Wellington Z. Chen's companies, also runs a travel agency. I've heard that Marilyn and Jack Bitterman get complimentary and VIP treatment, especially in Canada.

The Flushing Phantom said...

Maybe it's time for me to phone FBI headquarters for an appointment.

Maybe they should be investigating Marilyn Bitterman's trips to Canada, etc. to see who pays for them.

An NYC paid district manager taking freebies from developers who come before CB7 is certainly a conflict of interest if that's so!

I wonder if fines or jail time is involved?

Those federal agents can decide what's up.

I'll just point them in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Oh shit...it looks like CB7 is in trouble!

Gung ho on the Bittermans!

Now go after that rug man Apelian!

Anonymous said...

The Parkside Group representing the BID and TDC. Is something wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

The Parkside Group representing the BID and TDC. Is something wrong with this picture?

Apparently not in Queens!

Anonymous said...

The Landsnecht (elite 17th century mercenaries) were employed by many countries to do their fighting.

If "Parkside Group" represents the equivelant of crack Israeli type lobbying commandos...then I'd hire them too!

What's your problem?

Anonymous said...

This in NOT the 17th century and this is not Israel. It is interesting that there is an implication to The parkside Group as being mercenaries.

Anonymous said...

Where is this Gerson guy getting his information? Who is advising him? He should stop listening to the wannabee political "advisors", "consultants" and "civic leaders" They're all shitheads!

The Parkside Group is working for the enemy. Hire another lobbyist, a non-biased one, before its too late.