Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Story Behind the Jewish Press Building Sale in Gowanus

Future Site of Gowanus Village, From Third Avenue

Weeks ago, someone left a comment in our item about the sale of the Jewish Press Building on Third Avenue in Gowanus to developer Shaya Boymelgreen, who was said to covet the building as a key part of the Gowanus Village development. The building, the comment writer noted, had a restrictive deed from the city requiring it to remain as a manufacturing facility. Ben Smith's Daily Politics blog reports that restriction is in place until 2011 and fills in the fascinating political deal that led to the building's original sale. (There is also some fascinating information in the comments section, including great detail about the property, like the fact that it has been used for the storage of "solid waste" and that, because the property has been used to dispose of construction material, the elevation of parts of the lot is now 10-15 higher than it used to be.)

The story dates back to 1969, when Jewish militant Meir Kahane was using his column in the Jewish Press to attack Mayor John Lindsay.
Lindsay biographer Vincent Cannato writes that the mayor struck a deal with the paper's publisher: The Press fired Kahane, and Lindsay gave them a disused city building on the stinking Gowanus Canal at the industrial foot of Park Slope. Lindsay rented out the building on such favorable terms that, according to city documents, officials decided they'd do better by selling it to the newspaper outright for $20,000 in 1985. The terms of the deal required the building to remain in industrial use until 2011.
The sale price has not been disclosed, but its thought to be in the tens of million of dollars. There are several interesting subplots to the story. First, the development company Leviev Boymelgreen, is a partnership between the Brooklyn developer and international diamond dealer Lev Leviev, who made his fortune in such murky markets as Angola and the former Soviet Union. The firm is, or is not, on the rocks, with a split up reported in Israel between Leviev and Boymelgreen and the firm selling off property in Miami for $89 million and hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...




Gowanus Industrial Urban Renewal Program (GIURP)
Feb 11, 1971 to run for a period of 40 years.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Marcello Marc Irving Furia said...

watch out, there are people living in the red building called the SCAVENGARS, they do drugs like heroin and crystal meth, someone needs to put an end to this now!!!

12:27 PM  

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