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CitiStorage Owner Celebrates as Public Auction on His Property Closes

By Gwynne Hogan | July 22, 2016 12:29pm
"Never insult a person you need something from unless you are prepared to not get what you need," Brodsky tweeted.
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Courtesy of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

GREENPOINT — The owner of an 11-acre slice of property that the city needs in order to complete a 27-acre waterfront park closed a public bid for his property Wednesday afternoon and reiterated his rejection of the city's "low ball" $100 million offer with a series of snarky and cryptic tweets.

The efforts of park advocates — who've have hung a countdown clock on his fencecamped out in front of his property and circulated a petition demanding Norman Brodsky, the owner of the CitiStorage property at 5 North 11th Street, accept the city's offer— seem to have offended the landowner.

"Never insult a person you need something from unless you are prepared to not get what you need"

Following the auction's closure, Brodsky refused to say how many offers he'd gotten for his land, adding he "will not talk about [it] until the contract is finished."

Though the evening before the Wednesday deadline, he and Robert Levin, the CEO of RSL Media tweeted pictures of the two of them and a group of men in front of dozen bottles of whiskey at the CitiStorage site "celebrating tonight tomorrow's results."

"I don't know how to decrypt what he's saying," said Steve Chesler, a park advocate with Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park.

"If he's playing a game or not...It's like hieroglyphics," adding that the tweet could be read as if Brodsky had received "16 quotes and 4 rejections."

They had officially submitted the city's $100 million offer to the bidding pool. 

And they marked up a copy of a presentation prepared by real estate agent Cushman and Wakefield, crossing out all the allusions to an office building and replacing it with "park".

City officials said they were still committed to turning the land into a park, though they're not willing to budge on the amount. 

"The administration believes this is a fair and appropriate offer. In fact, this offer represents approximately $3 million more per acre than the average price paid for other sites contained within the Bushwick Inlet Park footprint," said mayoral spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas. "Our focus is on a negotiated sale."

In a letter to local Councilman Stephen Levin, Peter Wertheim, an advisor for Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, pointed out zoning issues that would make private development at the site troublesome for developers, since the city says it refuses to support any kind of rezoning there. 

"The CitiStorage site is currently subject to significant zoning restrictions related to waterfront access, open space, and parking," he wrote. "In practical terms, these regulations are likely to minimize the development potential given the significant costs associated with compliance and the attendant reduction in the developable area."

Meanwhile park advocate Chesler holds out hope that Brodsky and the city could still come to a compromise in the few remaining days that are left on the city's offer. 

"We want just ask him to do the right thing, he's a community guy. Do the right thing for his community," Chesler said. "For him to create this park for his family and everyone else, that would be the ultimate prize."