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.
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.”
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.
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?
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?
Governor Paterson announced his confirmation of former NYC mayoral candidate and Comptroller William C. Thompson to the Board of Directors of Battery Park City Authority.
According to a press release from the governor, “I am pleased to announce the confirmation of my colleauge and friend, Bill Thompson, to the Battery Park City Authority. Bill is a proven leader with significant experience in government. As the City’s former Comptroller, he worked tirelessly on behalf of all New York City residents. I look forward to working with him in making New York City and Battery Park City a better place to live, work and raise a family. ”
Mr. Thompson was most recently elected to serve two consecutive four-year terms as Comptroller of New York City, leading a team of 720 employees and managing a $66 million annual operating budget. Mr. Thompson’s early career roles included serving as Chief of Staff to a United States Congressman, and Deputy Borough President for the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President. Later, in the private sector, Mr. Thompson was a Senior Vice President in Public Finance at an investment banking firm. He returned to public service and was appointed to the New York City Board of Education where he served five terms as President of the nation’s largest school system with more than 130,000 employees and an annual budget of nearly $12 billion. As President, Mr. Thompson led policy development and implementation in a city of over 8 million residents with 1.1 million public school children.
Mr. Thompson received a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University, where he currently serves as a Trustee Emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from Metropolitan College, Pace University, Mercy College and Long Island University.