Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Under authority reform bill expected to be passed, below-market land sale by MTA (as in AY?) would be precluded

The New York Observer reports that Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and state Senator Bill Perkins have achieved success in their effort to reform public authorities, with apparently only modest pushback from Mayor Mike Bloomberg and others resisting the changes:
Brodsky said that the original bill will be signed, and that both legislative houses will pass chapter amendments to ameliorate some of these concerns. For example, according to a summary provided by Brodsky, sale of property "below fair market value sales permitted if it is within the mission of the Public Authority, as defined by their authorizing statute."

"The M.T.A., for example, could not longer sell property at below market value for economic development purposes," Brodsky explained. Other authorities whose explicit purpose was economic development--or housing development--could. This would preclude development projects like the Atlantic Yards and Hudson Yards. The chapter amendments also reduce the number of contracts the comptroller is required to review.
AY precluded?

While it might sound like it would preclude a project like Atlantic Yards, I'm not certain: it depends on who's doing the accounting, and how.

After all, though Forest City Ratner's cash bid was well below the appraisal, the MTA calculates the entire value of the bid, including transit system improvements, as well over the appraisal. The key is that the MTA apparently believes that its appraiser did not appropriately calculate the cost of a building a deck over the railyard.

Boost for Brodsky

The Observer's Jimmy Vielkind writes:
This is a big political feather in Brodsky's cap. He is mentioned as a possible candidate for attorney general should Andrew Cuomo admit he's more interested in running for governor than re-election. Brodsky ran for the office in 2006, but ended his bid when his daughter became ill.
That potential race, coupled with an unwillingness to clash with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Atlantic Yards supporter, might explain why Brodsky has mostly ignored Atlantic Yards.

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