eminent domain

Major Developments, Midtown West

Port Authority Bus Terminal

A request to put the brakes on a $10 billion plan for a new West Side bus terminal and rethink the process with more input from local officials and the public was rebuffed by the Port Authority chairman, reports Crain’s. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer were joined by Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assembly members Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal and Councilman Corey Johnson in backing the effort to slow the Port Authority’s call to move ahead with a design competition to get ideas for the West Side plan.

The controversy emerged after a board meeting on Thursday. “We’re not going to defer the design and deliverability study,” was the reply from John Degnan, the New Jersey-appointed chairman, amid concerns that the new terminal will necessitate the seizure of private property using eminent domain, threaten area homes, small businesses and other organizations and belch more carbon from a larger fleet of buses into the air in an area that already “runs afoul of federal air-quality standards.”

Find out what the fuss is all about

Featured Story

CityRealty, Features, NYC Guides, Policy, stuff you should know

Stuff You Should Know: How Eminent Domain Works

By Penelope Bareau, Wed, May 4, 2016

atlantic yards before and after

The Atlantic Yards (now known as Pacific Park) in Brooklyn where eminent domain was used to take property. Image via Atlantic Yards Report

It has been called the most coercive public policy after the draft. It has also been said that without it, construction in major cities would come to a shuddering stop. What is this powerful, controversial tool? Can both statements be true?

Eminent domain is the policy by which a governmental agency can acquire or “take” property from an owner unwilling to sell in order to build something else there, and it has been around for centuries. Some say it derives from the medieval concept of the divine right of kings, empowered by God the Almighty to be sovereign over all. And by inference, that includes the land, which individual owners occupy and trade at the king’s sufferance. When he wants it back, it is his right to take it. So under eminent domain, all land theoretically belongs to the state, which can assume control at any time.

more on eminent domain here

Coney Island, Policy

Coney Island Boardwalk

Image © Daniel Fleming

Eminent domain, defined as “the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use,” is typically enacted to build projects such as bridges, highways, or schools. But the De Blasio administration plans to use it to erect an amusement park. According to the Post, the city is “frustrated by stubborn Coney Island landowners” and “plans to seize property under the city’s rarely used power of eminent domain in order to spur long-stalled economic development in the People’s Playground.” The land in question is three vacant beachfront sites and two smaller adjacent sites on West 12th and West 23rd Streets that total 75,000 square feet, largely comprised of the 60,000-square-foot site where the original Thunderbolt once stood (immortalized in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”). Under the plan, the Parks Department will oversee new amusements and amenities, details of which haven’t been shared.

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Architecture, Downtown Brooklyn, New Developments

Savanna Group, rezoning, eminent domain, CityPoint, Institute of Design and Construction

A Downtown Brooklyn school once planned to be seized through eminent domain will sprout a 30-story mixed-use tower by Savanna Partners. Renderings posted on Savanna’s website reveal a glass tower at 141 Willoughby Street with a retail base, student housing, and commercial or residential space above. The project will replace the three-story building that’s home to the Institute of Design and Construction, a 77-year-old technical college.

More details on the project