STATEN ISLAND — One city agency under constant criticism from the Staten Island borough president for its late and expensive work got the OK to build a new office closer to its critic — at a cost of about half a million taxpayer dollars a year.
Borough President James Oddo's public lashing of the Department of Design and Construction — which he referred to as "that godforsaken agency" during an interview with NY1 last week — comes as the agency is preparing to open a satellite office in Charleston.
The DDC is in the process of leasing nearly 10,000 square feet of office space at 101 Tyrellan Ave. for 20 years to be closer to projects under construction in the borough so workers don't have to trek from Long Island City to Staten Island.
"It's really to bring better service and to make it more efficient for our personnel who work on Staten Island," said Ian Michaels, a spokesman for DDC. "It's a long trip from the southern tier of Staten Island out to our offices in Long Island City."
Plans for the move have been in the works since summer 2015, he said.
Oddo has not shied away from letting the world know about his frustrations with the DDC.
We need a construction czar in this town. Blow up DDC, and empower him/her to fix capital project process agency by agency.— Jimmy Oddo (@HeyNowJO) April 25, 2017
Oddo took a page from a sports radio segment last year and launched an "Undah/Ovah" game where residents can vote if they think construction project managed by the DDC will come in on time.
"It's a very serious issue and we're using this tool of reductio ad absurdum [Latin for reduction to the absurd] to highlight it," Oddo previously said about the site.
"The Department of Design and Construction never brings a project on budget and on time."
On Twitter, Oddo has railed against the agency for coming in late on various street widening project and recently posted his frustrations about the delays to the reconstruction of the Animal Care and Control facility in Charleston, which broke ground in 2013.
The new space was approved at a public Department of Citywide Administrative Services meeting in April, the last step in the process before it opens. The landlord is required to make alterations to the space first, which is expected to take about 13 months, according to DCAS.
The space will cost the city between $454,7500 to $691,618 a year, with the price rising every several years, according to the City Record.
The spot will be the DDC's second satellite location outside of the Queens, with the agency leasing one in Manhattan previously, Michaels said.