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MTA finally parting w/ unused Brooklyn building (370 Jay St), + other properties to $ell...

Posted by Gold_12TH on Mon Sep 26 22:24:00 2011

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The cash-strapped funding authority, long criticized for holding onto an empty office building in downtown Brooklyn, announced it will sell or lease the property and eight others to help fund its capital plan.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Monday it will finally sell or lease its former subway headquarters in downtown Brooklyn as the cash-strapped transit authority consolidates its real estate holdings.

The largest parcel of nine to be leased or sold, the 400,000-square-foot building at 370 Jay St. in Brooklyn once housed New York City Transit. Local officials have for years criticized the MTA for letting the building's exterior fall into disrepair and the interior sit practically empty. The authority had considered locating its back offices there until space at a building on 34th Street in Manhattan became available.

The city owns 370 Jay St. and the other eight properties on the chopping block. The city's Economic Development Corp., on behalf of the MTA, is preparing to issue requests for proposals for the other properties. Whether the Jay Street building is sold or leased will depend in part on what developers propose.

The revenue will help fund the MTA's capital plan, which faces a $9 billion shortfall over the next three years, but some of that money could offset the city's funding obligation to the MTA, an authority spokesman said.

“While these revenues represent just a very small fraction of the MTA's capital funding needs, every bit helps,” said Jeffrey Rosen, the MTA's director of real estate, in a statement.

Local officials applauded the MTA's move.

"The rest of downtown Brooklyn has undergone tremendous and transformative growth, yet 370 Jay St. has remained a virtually vacant eyesore—at times obstructed by sidewalk scaffolding and an unsightly black scrim to protect passersby from the building's crumbling facade," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "The MTA has recently renovated the property's adjacent subway station, Jay Street-Metro Tech, and now the city can finally move forward with plans to transform 370 Jay St. into a job-creating economic anchor."

In addition to 370 Jay St., the MTA plans to issue requests for proposals for:

—A vacant parcel adjoining the Gun Hill Bus Depot, at Gun Hill Road and Interstate 95 in the Bronx;

—a triangular parcel at Houston Street and Broadway in Manhattan;

—351 E. 139th St., between Willis and Alexander avenues, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx;

—707 E. 211th St., near White Plains Road and Gun Hill Road in the Bronx;

—a parcel on Van Sinderen Avenue in Brooklyn;

—851 Avenue I in Midwood, Brooklyn;

—103-54 99th St. in South Ozone Park, Queens;

—and an elongated parcel at Varick Avenue & Johnson Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Asked why the MTA changed its mind about parting with 370 Jay St. after agency watchdogs and economic development advocates in Brooklyn clamored for it for years, an agency spokesman said, “This is part of a large and ongoing re-evaluation of our real estate portfolio and our space needs, which is also what led to our decision to sell our headquarters.” He added that for Jay Street, “we have a willing partner in the city.”

The agency is also exploring whether it can generate revenue by allowing development above its bus depot between West 40th and 41st streets and Eleventh and Twelfth avenues in Manhattan; its parking garages near the entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel; the N train's trench in Brooklyn and the adjacent Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, freight branch of the Long Island Rail Road; LIRR right-of-way near Woodside, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills stations in Queens; and LIRR facilities along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens.

Later this year, the agency's finance committee will explore what to do with some of its suburban real estate holdings.

Source: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20110926/REAL_ESTATE/110929910#ixzz1Z7DxExWZ

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