Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sterling had unfair advantage

From the Times Ledger:

The mayor unveiled the plans at a June 14 breakfast and touted the proposal as “exactly as envisioned and approved by the community and City Council back in 2008.”

But there was one component of the plan that no one had seen before, not even the other developers who bid on the roughly $3 billion project.

When the city released its request for proposals in May 2011, it was seeking developers to build in a precisely defined area along 126th Street across from Citi Field.

The Sterling and Related plan calls for development within the boundaries defined in the RFP, but it also features another 1 million-square-foot retail and entertainment block to the west of the stadium.

Called Willets West, it will be built in the New York Mets parking lot on land not mentioned as available for development in the RFP.

People knowledgeable of the bidding process who did not want to be identified said no one other than Sterling Equities and Related Cos. knew development to the west of the stadium was a possibility.

Sterling Equities is owned by the Wilpon family, which also owns the Mets.

The land where Willets West is proposed is currently leased to the Mets and thus the Wilpon family.

Once again, if they had the right to develop the property the entire time, why didn't they? And why is that capability the deciding factor in who gets to develop the entire Willets Point project?


Anonymous said...

Maybe going through the motions of putting the land up for a public bid entails some kind of tax write-off that Wilpont wouldn't have had access to otherwise?

Wonder how much $$$ other developers spent preparing bids for the project.

It's an interesting story though - it seems like some sort of fraud/collusion was committed here but I don't know the law, and of course even if it was illegal it'd be a miracle if it was prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting comment on the linked Times-Ledger story about the legality of the city proposing commercial development on state-controlled park land.

For all that - I don't know if it answers the question of why the city conducted a dog and pony show for the land.

Whenever I see a story about land development in Flushing I keep flashing back to that poor man whose house was taken away from him via a phony mortgage, and as he tried to fight through the legal system to get his house back - he ended up dead under very suspicious circumstances.

With rich foreigners now being able to buy greencards for themselves and their families, I guess the developers are licking their chops with the expectation that Flushing will be a boomtown with an influx of wealthy Chinese taking advantage of the new law.

Anonymous said...

Now I get it!

You can't spell WILlets POiNt



Sucks, doesn't it?