One of the major assets that many are frustrated with in how the MTA manages it is 370 Jay Street. This property was called a “blight on the face of downtown Brooklyn” by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz a little under two months ago. Julia Vitullo Martin of the New York Daily News looks at this issue more in this report:
Before the state raises everyone’s taxes to support the bloated Metropolitan Transportation Authority, shouldn’t we first insist that the MTA take advantage of any and all underused real estate that it already owns or controls under long-term leases?
One of Mayor Bloomberg’s most important initiatives in his first term was to direct city agencies to identify and analyze all real estate holdings in order to sell off underdeveloped properties. The idea was to protect neighborhoods from the blight that inevitably accompanies vacant land while letting the city reap real estate’s financial rewards.
Alas, the MTA is not under the mayor’s jurisdiction. Brooklyn City Councilman David Yassky, who estimates that the MTA owns some 14,000 buildings worth more than $1 billion, has repeatedly asked for an accounting of the value and use of these properties. The MTA refuses – even though it has the data. In 2004, it commissioned exactly this analysis from the private consulting groups of CB Richard Ellis and Massey Knakal Realty Services. The information has remained undisclosed.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership argues that if the MTA were to net-lease just eight of 370 Jay St.’s 13 floors to a private developer, it would save $100 million while helping revitalize the neighborhood.
Click here for the complete report.
I happen to agree with many who feel that the MTA squanders the potential of its real estate assets. While managing the assets better would not fill the budget deficit by itself, it is just one of many things the MTA could do to help the cause. We know that Albany controls the purse strings & is mainly to blame for the MTA’s finances being in the shape that they are in. However as I have stated many times, the MTA is not completely blameless either.
The agency has never been the role model for sound financial decisions. They continue to preach about the riding public having to help share the burden yet we have to see the complete breakdown of what they are bringing to the table. Instead of recycling the same rhetoric, how about showing what you will do. While you are it, stop squandering the potential of the real estate assets you own!