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May 21, 2009

Fallout from the Weinstein case: questions of condemnation timing and valuation; will Site 5 really be taken?

Atlantic Yards Report

AYR suggests more potential questions for next Friday's Senate hearing on Atlantic Yards.

So it's worth asking about the ESDC's plans at the public hearing: would the whole site be condemned at once? What are the plans for Site 5?

It's also worth asking whether, given that the project likely will take much longer than projected, Forest City Ratner plans any interim open space, as once suggested in plans by landscape architect Laurie Olin.

Valuation questions

I suggested May 8 that, while the appellate court ruling couldn't stop the ESDC from taking [Henry] Weinstein's property, it could make it more costly, since Weinstein has contended that [Shaya] Boymelgreen’s deal with Ratner diminished the value of his property.

[Eminent domain attorney Michael] Rikon, who does not represent Weinstein but has met with him in the past, told me that when property is condemned and appraised, the appraiser then can ignore all leases. "That doesn't mean you ignore existing leases, if they're good fair market leases," Rikon said.

The goal is to look at comparable leases, but it may not be easy to find such comparable leases. That suggests to me that Weinstein still gained an advantage in the valuation phase should condemnation occur.

But Rikon suggests that the more important impact of the lease was in suggesting that Forest City Ratner controlled the property, not in setting its value. And that's another question for the oversight hearing.

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Posted by eric at May 21, 2009 9:58 AM