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Thursday, December 27, 2012

“Now the property will start to get interesting again.”



So says Steve Kuritz, an analyst of mortgage-backed securities for Morningstar Credit Ratings, according to an online New York Post article on PCVST.

The gist is that the property has now been valued by an "independent appraiser" for CWCapital at 3.2 billion, which is closing in on the $3.4 billion necessary for the bondholders to break even on their investment.

The article continues: "Kuritz pointed to an uptick in cash flow from the rentals, which he estimates has risen to $167 million this year from $129 million in 2009."

Also: "The owners will have no shortage of bidders, based on the many suitors who have been salivating over the property for years."

Interestingly, one possible suitor, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, states: “I would have no interest in it if it is simply an expensive ticket to internecine warfare among the tenants."

Don't expect a quick deal, though.  A lawyer for CWCapital sees a "final resolution" occurring in 2014.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuy Town's Impressive Christmas Tree

The current Stuy Town Christmas tree, off to the side of the Oval:


The Stuy Town Christmas Tree tradition from a couple of years ago, at the center of the Oval lawn:



Times are indeed hard, priorities must be set.  Money to spend on an Ice Rink and Oval "events," but no money for a decent Christmas Tree.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Vote of No Confidence for Garodnick



I wanted to get to this news item earlier in the week, but better late than never.

So our councilman, Dan Garodnick, who opposed extending term limits past two, is now running for a third term as city councilman.  I'm somewhat conflicted here, as I generally feel that term limits are unconstitutional and haven't voted for them, but the people of New York City spoke, twice, about terms limits (actually, once more recently), and the vote of the people was to limit term limits for city office holders to two.  Naturally, Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg, in a self-serving maneuver, turned this around with approval of most of the City Council. Garodnick was one of the nay votes on the Council against Bloomberg.

So what does Gardonick do when his own job is at stake, after serving two term limits and withdrawing from the comptroller race because he'd probably lose against his "friend" Scott Stringer?  He goes for a third term as city councilman!

Not only that, but with a "war-chest" of 1.5 million dollars, collected for his future plans in politics, he holds a fund raising event to get more money into his coffers.  Does anyone serious think that Garodnick will face a credible challenge that will necessitate over a million dollars, possibly two million, to win, again, his city councilman seat?

Politics as usual.  And it sucks.

As for Garodnick himself, and his effectiveness as a politician, in particular his effectiveness in dealing with PCVST....

Yeah, he's a nice guy and lives in Peter Cooper Village and responds to tenants concerns and it's good to have a resident of our community representing the community as a city councilman.  That said, Garodnick has been lame on certain issues here, after making forceful statements about his concerns and about what should or should not be happening in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village.  He clearly expressed his doubts about the Stuy Town ice rink, worried about the implication of a commercial enterprise in a previously free playground space, and he was just as clear, and initially proactive, in his determination to work with management in moving the Stuy Town greenmarket to a properly zoned area in or near the complex.  He dropped the ball on both matters, paving the way for Oval Cafe and lord knows what other commercial enterprise CWCapital and Lady Maya are concocting for the future. It's not pertinent to the condemnation that a portion of residents may favor an ice rink, greenmarket or cafe, but it is pertinent to point out that Garodnick did not follow through on these matters which he initially tackled with sensible commentary.  Worse, he surrendered.

Then, there's the matter of tenant ownership of PCVST.  Much energy, and the hopes and dreams of some tenants, have been focused on this, with Garodnick (along with the TA) at the forefront, leading the charge.  I think this a fool's chase, but that's only an opinion.  What I don't think is opinion is that affordable housing for the middle class is disappearing month by month here, and that Garodnick and the City Council and the Mayor have done nothing to stop this steady decrease in the housing opportunities for the middle class.

There are other negatives in Garodnick's file.  His advocacy for the 2nd Ave subway, which has decimated businesses and the living standards of those along the construction route; his vote to allow, despite zoning regulations, a huge skyscraper at 7th Ave & 33rd Street that will block out the icon view of the Empire State Building from several points and create more massive congestion in midtown; his acceptance of large amounts of political donations from real estate concerns (including, it must be noted, the real estate entity involved in that 7th Ave skyscraper)....

Yeah, he's a nice guy and all that, but I have no confidence in Dan Garodnick.  We will continue to go down the hole here in the city, paving the way more and more for the wealthy to live here, while we will be forced to move to the outskirts, coming in daily and leaving daily, to serve those who are the real masters.