Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eminent Domain Fun: Rockwell Place Firm to Get the Boot?

The focus at Brooklyn eminent domain hearing on Tuesday was the Underground Railroad Houses on Duffield Street, but Brooklyn Daily Eagle reporter Sarah Ryley reports another pending taking of property that would otherwise fly under the radar screen. In this case, the city would like to seize property at 95 Rockwell Place and clear the property, although there are no plans for the site. The business that is currently there employs 150 people.

Ms. Ryley writes:
Another lesser-known condemnee is Track Data Corporation, a financial service company six blocks from Duffield that employs 150 people and provides real-time financial and market data. The building, surrounded by parking lots, is within the BAM Cultural District, an area the city wants to turn into mixed-use developments and cultural centers orbiting the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“Given the fairly small footprint of the building, what could you possibly want here more than a high-tech firm that pays salaries, employs 100 people [onsite] and has been here for several decades?” said Track Data spokesman Rafi Reguer. “What is it that you could replace it with that would be more valuable to the borough?”

The answer was nothing, at least for now.

According to information provided by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, there is no development in any planning or approval stage that would replace Track Data. A spokesman for the partnership said it’s a normal part of the redevelopment process to clear everything through eminent domain to ensure that all existing property owners or lease holders are vacated when it comes time to build.

Eight lots that were on the eminent domain list yesterday are within the BAM Cultural District, and four have planned developments. A theatre for Danspace and 350 residential units are in the planning process; the Theatre for a New Audience, a 350-seat theatre, is in the approval process; and a small park is proposed atop one of the parking lots.
Read the rest of Ms. Ryley's coverage. It's fascinating stuff in a bizarre government taking of land for no apparent good reason kind of way. Urban renewal, anyone?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This eminent domain business just keeps getting scarier and scarier. It's bad enough when the government can take people's property based on some flimsy excuse that it's "blighted" and they have a plan to make better use of it. Now they don't even feel the need to have a plan, they just take property that is in use as a viable business, employing over 100 people, and put it in their back pocket in case they eventually do come up with a plan. In other words, they can take anyone's property at any time for any reason, or for no real reason at all. Who's to stop them ? The Constitution is taking a hell of a beating these days.
Fort Greene

12:45 AM  

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