Wednesday, July 26, 2006

M.T.A. Slated to Consider Railyard Bid

Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 00:04:56 -0400
From: "Tenant"
Subject: M.T.A. Slated to Consider Railyard Bid

July 26, 2006

M.T.A. Slated to Consider Railyard Bid
NY Times

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board is expected today
to consider New York City's offer of $500 million for development
rights to 26 acres of railyards on the Far West Side of Manhattan,
the site of the city's failed attempt last year to develop a football
stadium for the Jets.

The authority, which received the latest offer this month in a letter
from City Hall, has not brought it up for public discussion before
any of the committees that advise its board, including those dealing
with finance and real estate. Although the matter had not been
included on a preliminary agenda of the authority's board, which is
to meet this morning, Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the authority , said
yesterday that it would be discussed, but added that it was not known
if the board would take action.

The prospect of such high-level discussion provoked heightened
tensions yesterday over the city's offer, which has been
characterized by some critics as a low-ball bid for one of
Manhattan's largest and potentially most valuable development sites,
between 10th to 12th Avenues from 30th to 33rd Streets. Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for governor, has called the
offer "grossly under market value."

Others have urged caution. In a letter last week to Peter Kalikow,
the authority's chairman, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union,
the main transit union, and the Straphangers Campaign, a riders'
advocacy group, said that the authority would "look very bad if it
turns on a dime and just swallows the proposal whole.''

Gene Russianoff, staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, said any
action taken by the board today would deny the public sufficient
warning or input since the city's bid was not submitted to prior
discussion at open meetings.

One option for the authority's board is to give Mr. Kalikow authority
to negotiate with the city. Mr. Kalikow, a real estate executive,
said after the city's $500 million bid was outlined in a letter from
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C.
Quinn that his top priority was getting top dollar for the site "to
support our ongoing enormous capital needs."

Mr. Kelly declined further comment yesterday.
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