Tag Archives: battery park city authority

Restauranteur Peter Poulakkos Up for Lease on Pier A

Pier A
What will become of Pier A?

The New York Times reports that restaurateur Peter Poulakakos, owner/operator of Harry’s Café and Steak and other Wall Street-area eateries, is the leading candidate to be granted a lease at the 125-year-old Pier A at the edge of Battery Park. The Battery Park City Authority are scheduled to vote on the matter today, amid what is perceived as a veil of secrecy by some locals.

Poulakakos said, “I would do several good things for Lower Manhattan.” He would not, however, elaborate on what his plans entail. The BPCA hopes that Poulakakos could help inject commercial activity into the area. The BPCA controls the pier, which had fallen into a state of decay and disrepair over the years.

Some locals feel that the pier should include a cultural institution to help attract the millions of tourists expected to visit the World Trade Center memorial once it opens. Another lease bidder, Joseph J. Grano, Jr., has proposed the development of an Italian-American museum at the location, but he has not been given any sort of go-ahead.

What is your opinion of a restaurateur being granted a lease at Pier A? Do you frequent the area?

James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority

Former BPCA President Hired By State Lobbying Firm

James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority
James Cavanaugh Stands Accused of Squandering BPCA Funds

Despite being accused last month of squandering $300,000 in Battery Park City Authority funds on superfluous things like extravagant parties and lunches, former BPCA president Jim Cavanaugh is now gainfully employed at Empire Strategic Planning, a state lobbying firm.

Cavanaugh’s term as president of the BPCA spanned five years, but he stepped down from the post a month before he was accused of mismanaging finances and playing favorites; he is still eligible for retirement benefits. Cavanaugh labeled the Inspector General’s report about his activities as “nonsense” when it was released.

DNAInfo reports that Empire Strategic Planning was launched by former Republican Senator Nicholas Spano in 2007. Spano and Cavanaugh’s relationship dates back to when Cavanaugh served as Spano’s communications director early in his Senatorial career.

“With new leadership in Albany on both sides of the political aisle, this is a good time for the firm to expand our expertise and our staffing,” Spano said in a statement. “This is a particularly critical time for those seeking to navigate state and local governments, and we intend to be in a strong position to provide assistance to those who need it.”

Spano said that he is aware of the Inspector General’s report regarding Cavanaugh’s issues, but told The Daily News that he was not having reservations about hiring Cavanaugh.

What do you think of the accusations levied at Cavanaugh?

Battery Park City Spent Big on “Frivolous and Superfluous Items”

If the Battery Park City Authority is closed down, Mayor Bloomberg could take over.

Chairwoman of Community Board 1, Julie Menin, has called for the Battery Park City Authority to be “sunsetted,” according to DNAInfo.  Control of the neighborhood could be handed to Mayor Bloomberg. A state-led shut down of the organization was also suggested.

New York State Inspector General Joseph Fisch issued a press release last friday, saying the Battery Park City Authority “spent more than $300,000 on parties, lunches and gifts from 2005 to 2008, including $30,000 on employee meals, $13,000 for annual catered summer picnics and $14,000 for annual holiday parties for a 60-person staff and guests.” The release, available for download here, also notes questionable charitable donations. Between 2004 and 2008, over $4 billion was given to the Yonkers Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Queens Botanical Gardens, which “had little or no connection to BPCA’s mission.”

With such lavish spending practices in the past, and the planned rise of ground rent, should the Battery Park City Authority be closed down and the neighborhood handed over to Mayor Bloomberg?

James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority

Battery Park City Authority President to Step Down

James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority
James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority

James Cavanaugh, President and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority has resigned from the public entity, according to an emailed statement.

Citing the changes in the Battery Park City Authorities focus from buildings to people in the community, Cavanaugh also alluded to an attractive State offered early retirement option as one of his reasons for resignation.

He will officially leave his post in October and his successor has yet to be named. Sources speculate that the current Chief Operating Officer Gayle M. Horwitz would be a prime candidate for the President role.

William Thompson, current Battery Park City Authority chairman who himself was recently appointed by Governor Paterson, will be responsible for nominating the next President of the authority.

Cavanaugh joined the Battery Park City Authority in 2004 as its Chief Operating Officer and was named President in 2005. Prior to overseeing the public corporation he had served as a Supervisor for the Town of Eastchester in Westchester County, New York.

Battery Park City Hates The Sounds of “Frank Sinatra”

Battery Park City Residents are fed up with the sounds of "Frank Sinatra"

Battery Park City residents are not in love with the sounds of “Frank Sinatra.”

The “Frank Sinatra” and the “Yogi Berra” are just two of the ferry boats that illicit unending complaints from Battery Park City residents for nearly eight months. The vessels shuttle commuters from New Jersey to Battery Park City mostly for the service of Goldman Sachs employees who moved its corporate headquarters to our neighborhood almost a year ago.

According to a New York Times article, ‘The dispute about the boat noise has droned on for so long that Battery Park City officials have hinted that they might want to give the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the $50 million floating terminal, the heave-ho, saying the agency is violating the terms of its lease with the high noise levels.”

The public transportation nightmare has caused headaches for residents closest to the ferry terminal for some time. The ferries shuttle commuters more frequently than most other ferry services in the area during normal rush hours; however, the ferries also operate outside of those hours primarily for Goldman Sachs employees. The noise that emanates from the commuter ferries are due to older vessels being used to keep up with the increased commuter use as well as the siren signals heard when arriving and leaving the ferry terminal.

To alleviate the public problem, a private wallet has emerged — Goldman Sachs has agreed to spend $5 million dollars to provide updated ferries that would alleviate the noise pollution.

Goldman had been quick to “bridle at the complaints, suggesting that the neighbors were piling criticism on a firm that has already been faulted in the public eye,” as mentioned in the same article.

For those who don’t know, Goldman might be referencing our neighborhoods tested and fractured relationship that started with their construction woes nearly two years ago. Falling glass and debris from the construction site had been known to fall upon our community ball fields and sidewalks, injuring one of their own architects, as well as the community outcry for the recent closings of several retail and restaurants in our area.

How do you feel about Goldman Sachs’ offer to our community for new ferryboats? Does the ferry noise affect you?

Fed up with ineptitude, D.Patz will let heads roll this summer.

David Paterson Appoints Anthony Notaro to BPC Authority

Governor give community leader the nod.
Governor gives community leader the nod.

The Battery Park City Authority board is getting some fresh blood. Gov. David Paterson has appointed community leader Anthony Notaro to the seven-member board that manages BPC’s 92 acres and its $29 million annual budget.

Because Notaro is a longtime resident with deep ties to Battery Park City — he helped found the Certified Emergency Response Team, is president of the First Precinct Community Council AND is a Community Board 1 member — his presence on the board will give BPC residents a stronger say in decisions that affect their neighborhood.

In a statement to the press, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who championed Notaro for the role, said: “The Battery Park City community has advocated for years to add more residents to the BPCA board. Anthony will bring an important perspective to help the board better understand the particular needs and concerns of Battery Park City residents.”

Now let’s just hope Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t dissolve the Authority altogether, and everything will be just peachy.

Brookfield Properties and Battery Park City in Dispute

Brookfield and BPCA in Collection Dispute

Brookfield Properties and Battery Park City in Dispute
Brookfield Properties and Battery Park City in Dispute

It may be summer but things in the Winter Garden just got a little chilly.

According to recent reports, the Battery Park City Authority is seeking $4-$7 Million dollars from Brookfield Properties, owners of The World Financial Center.

The dispute is related to rent income received by Brookfield from one of their former  and largest tenants Lehman Brothers, who decided to vacate and break their lease from One World Financial center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Although Brookfield Properties is the rightful landlord to any and all rent income within the 8 million-square-foot World Financial Center, a portion of all rents are to cover the land lease which is owned by the Battery Park City Authority.

The authority claims that although Brookfield received a lump sum from the broken lease, they did not report their earnings and instead spread out the money over the life of the original lease — spanning several financial statements.

The net effect of this move was an overall decrease in monies owed to the authority.

According to a quote from Sandy Altman, the Authority’s general counsel, “It was a big  blow.”

As of now, the case between both Brookfield Properties and the Battery Park City Authority is currently awaiting the decision of a arbitration panel.

We’ll provide more information when it becomes available.

Chairman Thompson’s Post Uncertain With NYC Bid on BPC

William Thompson Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority
William Thompson is the current Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority

That which the governor giveth, the mayor can taketh away. At least that’s the case for the Battery Park City Authority, which is facing a potential takeover at the hands of New York City.

It’s only been a month since William Thompson was appointed as Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, but his days are already numbered. Ironically, his fate is in the hands of the same man who took away his shot at being Mayor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

According to the New York Daily News, Thompson said, “It’s not like I’m getting paid a lot in this job. If that happens in the end, so be it.”

Battery Park City has recently been under the scrutiny of New York City’s comptroller John Liu to start determining whether a takeover of the neighborhood is a financially viable step for the city, after similar and recent acquisitions of both Brooklyn Bridge park and Governor’s Island…

Historically, the city has had the option to take over Battery Park City for a mere dollar. Yet, behind that dollar comes great fiscal responsibilities — including assuming the Authority’s $1-billion-dollar debt, as well as the burden of keeping up the same impeccable park maintenance and services (events, art installations, etc.) to which residents have become accustomed.

The decision ultimately lies solely in the hands of both the mayor and comptroller. Liu has been quoted in several news outlets saying that he takes this decision seriously and would want to hear from the residents of Battery Park City before making a decision.

Longtime Battery Park City advocate, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was also quoted in the article saying, “I’m not for it. I’m not against it. I’m cautioning at this point.”

If anything, Thompson’s announcement that he’s taking a new corporate job hints that he’s hedging his bets. Although Thompson and Bloomberg have a history as political rivals, they’ve also collaborated in the past, working together as comptroller and mayor for several years. While the decision about the Battery Park City Authority’s fate is far from final, the outcome is something neighborhood residents and property owners need to monitor vigilantly.

Mayor Bloomberg

After Governors Island, Mayor Now Seeks Battery Park City

Mayor Bloomberg in a land grab for Battery Park City
Mayor Bloomberg in a land grab for Battery Park City

After successfully seeking control over Governors Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park, Mayor Bloomberg continues his game of Monopoly with his piece set on buying Battery Park City.

Comptroller John Liu is tasked with determining whether the takeover of Battery Park City from New York State makes sense for New York City. In a bid to help close the city’s budget deficit, acquiring Battery Park City would mean a constant flow of revenue from ground lease revenue and property taxes.

Although the city has had a longstanding option to acquire Battery Park City for a mere $1 dollar, tacked along with the purchase would be nearly $1 billion dollars in debt and high maintenance costs for the area.

The comptroller is also considering Battery Park City residents and commercial tenants opinions on the acquisition.

Whether or not the acquisition would follow through has yet to be seen, although it’s quite obvious that the plan has kicked in. Especially in light of Governor Patterson’s recent nomination of William Thompson as Battery Park City Authority’s new chairman.

New York Magazine’s Intelligencer has an interesting take on what this means, also mentioning that if the deal does not go through before September’s political primary — the likelihood that it deal would go through at all would be all but nullified.

How do you feel about about the possible acquisition of Battery Park City by the city and do you think this is a step in the right or wrong direction?

Battery Park City has become the Sugar Mama of New York City

Battery Park City: New York State’s Sugar Mama

Battery Park City has become the Sugar Mama of New York City
Battery Park City has become the Sugar Mama of New York City

Any condo owner in Battery Park City knows that the cost of living in our neighborhood can be astronomical. Our land lease subsidies were originally meant to fulfill a need for affordable housing that had been usurped with the building of the Twin Towers back in the early 60’s. The fund has largely gone towards it’s original intent and maintenance of Battery Park City itself.

As the city and state face their own budget crises, Battery Park City’s surplus’ are now being allocated at a city and state level to fill their budget gaps. This controversial move has the blessing of the Governor, Mayor, Comptroller and the BPC Authority board.

The terms of the deal include allocating $400 Million to fill budget deficits on both city and state levels. The city will also borrow another $200 Million for affordable housing initiatives and another $200 Million for general capital projects. The deal involves borrowing nearly $900 Million dollars that will take two decades to restore from land lease charges from owners.

The city promises that the money borrowed will be matched and be dedicated to providing additional affordable housing between now and 2017.

This deal may have some unrealized ramifications to our neighborhood, including decreased property value. How do you feel about the allocation of Battery Park City funds throughout the city and state?