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August 14, 2007

EMINENT DOMAINIA: The Big Apple Bites!


Public Hearing for 197C; ULURP Committee vote on 197C Plan

Wednesday, August 15, 6:30PM
Manhattanville Community Center, 530 W. 133rd Street

This is a Manhattan Community Board 9 hearing on Columbia University's 197C expansion plan, where the State of NY is poised to use eminent domain to coerce property owners and tenants into selling or to force the sale of private property for the benefit of a private institution. If other universities in NYC co-exist with the surrounding communities, why must Columbia University maintain a contiguous enclave?

Show up at the hearing and speak out against eminent domain for private gain!

Meanwhile, The Real Estate Observer is reporting ("Columbia Goes Direct to the People") that Columbia University is taking a page from the Bruce Ratner Atlantic Yards playbook, with its own fancy four-color flyer.

Observer reporter Matthew Schuerman compares it to the legendary Atlantic Yards "Liar Flyer." He finds that Columbia makes a distinction between "college math and developer math," so Ratner keeps his Heavyweight Liar title.

More importantly, Columbia evinces an unusual honesty when it comes to the number of construction jobs that the Manhattanville expansion will create. Forest City advertised that its project would create 15,000 construction jobs, since it is industry practice to multiply the average number of construction workers expected to be on the job at any one time by the number of years the construction will last. Hence, (1,500 construction jobs) x (10 years) = 15,000 “construction jobs.” Columbia claims that during its expansion, there will be “1,200 construction jobs created each year for at least 22 years”—which, using industry math, the university could easily have inflated to 26,400 “construction jobs." But they didn't.

The big news on Duffield St. in Downtown Brooklyn is that the City is getting so much heat for trying to demolish historic homes that played a role in the Underground Railroad movement, that Mayor Bloomberg is willing to spend $2 million to create a panel seeking to "commemorate abolitionist activity that occurred in Brooklyn in the 1800s."

Duffield Street Underground is covering all the action, including the press release and posts on the NY Observer and NY Times blogs:
A victory for Brooklyn or a new justification to demolish the Duffield Abolitionist homes?
Honoring Brooklyn's Role in Ending Slavery
Underground Railroad or Underground Rhetoric?

Suffice it to say, it would be a crying shame if the City managed to divide and conquer the local African American community on this issue, take the Duffield St. homes for Sam Chang's hotel parking garage and leave Brooklyn with a plaque and some kind words.

Press links:
Official Press Release (PDF)
The Real Estate Observer, Mayor Appeases on Underground Railroad Rancor
City Room, Honoring Brooklyn’s Role in Ending Slavery

Posted by lumi at August 14, 2007 8:44 AM