MTA Must Pay Extra For Condemned Properties

When the MTA created plans for the Fulton Transit Center, it included the necessary purchase of 5 buildings on Broadway. The agency felt the properties should be accessed separately even though some common ownership connections existed.

This past Thursday, New York state appellate judges anonymously agreed that the agency owed another $55M on top of what was already paid for the properties. Jennifer Golson of Thomson Reuters has more:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority owes $55.6 million more than it already paid for the land it condemned to build a transportation hub in Lower Manhattan, a panel of New York state appellate judges ruled unanimously on Thursday.

The MTA bought the sites — five parcels on lower Broadway in Manhattan — in 2006 in connection with the Fulton Street Transit Center Project, which is currently under construction.

The court held that the measure of damages in a condemnation case is the fair-market value of the property in its “highest and best use,” Justice Rosalyn Richter wrote for the Appellate Division, First Department. This is true even if the owner may not have been using the property to its fullest potential at the time of taking, Richter wrote.

Of the five parcels, one was owned by DLR Properties, three were owned by Collegiate Church Corp, and one was owned by a joint venture between Collegiate and Brookfield Properties Corp, the decision said.

During a bench trial before Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub, the MTA argued that each of the parcels should be valued separately. The MTA’s appraiser had valued the properties at a total of just over $100 million.

But Collegiate and the joint venture maintained that the best use for their properties would be to combine them into a condominium, and their appraiser valued those properties at $112 million. DLR’s appraiser determined the total value of its property and related rights was $60.6 million.

In affirming the trial court’s ruling, the appeals court found that there was a “reasonable probability” that Collegiate and the joint venture would have assembled the properties and acquired DLR’s site.

Click here for the complete report.

Not a surprising ruling considering the evidence. While the agency is not thrilled about paying extra, it will be worth it in the long run.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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