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May 4, 2010

In last-minute lawsuit, owner of easement in arena block seeks to preclude claim of vacant possession; his goal is money, not to stop arena

Atlantic Yards Report

Peter Williams, who owned an industrial building-turned-home (occupied by his two adult children, and a third person) in the Atlantic Yards arena block, settled weeks ago with Forest City Ratner.

Now he's brought an unusual lawsuit claiming that the state made a "colossal mistake" in not pursuing eminent domain for the easement bordering and above the Spalding Building at Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street. He acquired the easement in 2001 and owned adjacent 38 Sixth Avenue.

This could stop the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner from claiming they have achieved "vacant possession" of the arena block when current occupants leave by Saturday.

The easement prevents anything more than four stories from being built at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street--presumably precluding an arena.

Doh! Stupid easements!

Though the lawsuit raises the spectre of requiring a whole new process under the Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL), Williams, a former plaintiff in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain cases, has not displayed a particular ideological bent. Rather, he's publicly said he's in it for the money.


NoLandGrab: What's a few million when you could be a hero to millions? Don't forget, Ratner had your son thrown in jail — for taking one of Ratner's spycams off your own building!

Posted by eric at May 4, 2010 10:55 PM