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February 18, 2011

Winning the lottery: The speculator who damned Ratner, got $3 million for his Pacific Street property, and then gushed about the developer

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder tells the tale of a lucky (former) Atlantic Yards footprint property owner.

So, here's a story credulous Daily News columnist Denis Hamill somehow missed: a speculator (like the guys who bought the building housing Freddy's), who slammed Forest City Ratner when it was strategic, then, after he cashed in for $3 million, praised Bruce Ratner to the skies.

Crown Heights resident Menachem Friedfertig bought this empty garage, at 622 Pacific Street, in May 2003, for $382,000, as noted in the document embedded below. That was two months before any mention of Atlantic Yards surfaced in the press, and six months before the plan was announced.

According to the New York Sun, whose 9/2/04 article was headlined "Message to Ratner: ‘I Want My $4M’: Brooklyn Developer Looks To Cash In," Friedfertig planned a new building, with medical offices on the first floor, and five stories of condos, all permitted by current zoning, and got approval from the Department of Buildings.

He clearly felt he had lucked out, telling the Sun, "I have the winning lottery ticket and I want my $4 million."

When I wrote about this 1/20/06, I didn't know what kind of deal Friedfertig made. ACRIS as of 5/2/06 says it was $3 million, an enormous profit.

A better deal than Goldstein

That's a far better deal for Friedfertig than the $3 million Forest City Ratner paid in 2010 to get Daniel Goldstein to leave 636 Pacific Street condo he'd already lost to eminent domain, given the higher initial cost of Goldstein's property, taxes, the now-inflated cost of replacement, and attorney's fees. (The latter two push $2 million.)

Oh, and the fact that Goldstein lived there seven years, enduring demolition and other construction activities.

But Forest City Ratner did not orchestrate a media crusade against Friedfertig, as it's done with Goldstein.

Why not? Because Friedfertig changed his tune, very conveniently.
...

As I reported, Friedfertig, was effusive [at the 9/12/06 community forum (a not-quite public hearing) sponsored by the Empire State Development Corporation]. “It was the most amazing thing,” Friedfertig said. “Mr. Ratner, he was so fair. He was such a mensch.”

Friedfertig, an Orthodox, Hasidic Jew, unveiled a shofar—the ram’s horn used in Jewish ritual—as a gift to Bruce Ratner and proposed that the developer “should blow it on opening day at Ratner arena."

article

NoLandGrab: We have another thought as to what Bruce Ratner should blow on the arena's opening day.

Posted by eric at February 18, 2011 11:02 AM