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Friday, July 15, 2011

Roosevelt Island Real Estate Committee Meeting Monday On Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder and Island House Privatization In Executive Session - Will RIOC Board Real Estate Committee Return To Former Rubber Stamp Status?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee will meet on Monday. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

AGENDA
1. Introduction of New Committee Member
2. Selection of Committee Chair
3. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to:

a. Review and Discuss Terms of the Main Street Commercial Master Lease; and
b. Review the Status of Privatization/Affordability Plan and Ground Lease Extension for Island House
Upon learning of this meeting, I inquired of RIOC President Leslie Torres:
 I noticed an Agenda Item for July 18 RIOC Real Estate Committee meeting included an Executive Session review and discussion of Main Street Commercial Master Lease terms.

a. Review and Discuss Terms of the Main Street Commercial Master Lease

My understanding was that the RIOC Board had already approved the Master Lease and that all that remained was to finalize some 'technical" and/or "legal" terms of the agreement. Why is it now necessary for the Real Estate Committee to review and discuss further the terms of the Master Lease?

Has something new happened since the Board approved the Master Lease Agreement? If so, what are the additional issues to be discussed?

The issues regarding the Main Street Master Leaseholder are of great concern to Roosevelt Island residents. Why does Real Estate Committee meeting discussion on this issue have to be in closed session without the public being able to attend? Is it possible to have this meeting in the open so that the public can know what is going on? For that matter, why can't the Island House privatization issues be open to the public as well?
This previous post reported on the circumstances when a RIOC Board Meeting Executive Session closed to the public is appropriate.
... (h) the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.
Will opening this Real Estate Committee meeting up to the public affect the value of these transactions? If not, it should not be in Executive Seesion.

This will be the first RIOC Real Estate Committee meeting since the June appointment of  real estate conflict ridden, non-resident, non-elected Child School Executive Director Sal Ferrera to the RIOC Board. Mr. Ferrera is replacing Jonathan Kalkin who was the Chair of RIOC's Real Estate Development Advisory Committee as well as the Operations Committee.

I am concerned of the possibility that without Mr. Kalkin's business knowledge, expertise and dilligence, the RIOC Board Real Estate Committee will return to what it had always been prior to Mr. Kalkin's tenure - a rubber stamp for whatever Roosevelt Island real estate deal the RIOC staff wants to accomplish. Examples of past questionable Roosevelt Island real estate deals rubber stamped by the RIOC Board include the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club License Agreement and it's approximately $4 sq. ft 2007 extension as well as the $6 sq. ft.  annual lease (RIOC 2011 -12 Budget Page 11) for the Child School's premises on the waterfront promenade facing Manhattan.

I hope that these type of give-away real estate deals do not return to Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 7/18 - Received this response on 7/15 from RIOC Board Real Estate  Committee Member Fay Christian:
As you have stated, “...the Master Lease has been approved”. The final contract is being reviewed.  The same holds true for Island House.

Real Estate Committee
I replied:
Thank you for your answer.

But that's my point - if the Agreements are just being reviewed why is the discussion in Executive Session without the public being allowed to attend?

According to the NY State Department of State Open Government Committee, it is appropriate to conduct a meeting in Executive Session when:
... (h) the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.
Will anything being discussed under these reviews substantially affect the value of these Agreements? If not, the Committee meeting should be open to the Public and not in Executive Session.

17 comments :

Guest said...

I agree that Mr. Kalkin should be involved and included in any and all as well as future meetings and plans for the properties that will be built here. He spearheaded this wonderful venture and should be involved  at all meetings here forward. 

Guest said...

But he is not on the board anymore and therefore cannot be part of this anymore. Let's hope it's an effective RIOC board and nothing depends on only one person to get things done.

Zoilita said...

Kalkin did a nice job while he was on the board, but he is no longer on the board anymore and has no business being a part of this process.  Why don't we bring Mark Ponton back and ask him the be a part of it too.  Come on... anyway, with Rick giving his one-sided opinions on all this stuff, I think he should run for a RIOC Board spot next time the RIRA decides to have an election.  Then, he can vote on all this stuff instead of criticizing everything not having to do with his boy Kalkin. 

Roozevelt said...

I heard Kalkin plans to run for City Council.  He's just practicing his platforming here on R.I., having all these meetings with RIRA & the MTG.  He could care less about the RIOC Board, as he has his sights on bigger and better things.

RooseveltIslander said...

From whom did you hear this or is it just an unsubstantiated rumor you are trying to spread for some reason?

Rayeschwartz said...

Right on their website at the bottom of the meeting notice is this statement:
"The Open Meetings Law
of the State of New York requires that all public
bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of
officially conducting public business, in a manner
open to attendance by the general public to observe
and listen."
That tells us they are blatantly in violation of the law!

Bill Long said...

You keep flogging this $4/sq. ft. rate or that $6/sq. ft. rate, but it finally occurred to me, you never say what you are comparing it to. Is it a lower rate than, say, Parsipanny, NJ or just lower than Fifth Avenue? Maybe you're right, but if you have evidence that these rates are significantly below market (for a commercial leasing mecca like Roosevelt Island) why don't you present it?

RooseveltIslander said...

According to RIOC's Main Street Master Leaseholder RFP

..." Recent proposals have been received with rents ranging from the mid to
high teens to the mid $30’s, subject to use and space characteristics. The Retail
Space’s annual net operating income (“RIOC’s Retail NOI”) for the period
ending March 31, 2010 is approximately $900,000."...http://www.scribd.com/doc/36682632/RI-Master-Leaseholder-RFPPage 5 Section 5Also, the annual rents for the Riverwalk Retail in Southtown are in the $40 -45 sq ft range according to The Real Dealhttp://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2007/12/berlin-wall-is-falling-for-roosevelt.htmlRIOC's 2011 -12 Budget lists the retail rents on page 11http://rioc.com/pdf/11-12ApprovedBudget.pdf

Good Kitty said...

The Master Lease should be turned over to a non-profit like the Child School.  Maybe then we'll get kid-friendly, wholesome, and moderately-priced businesses on Main St. 

How about the children? said...

"mid to high teens" as a lower boundary for for-profit retail is not that much more than $6 for a non-profit organization. Again, you know what I am missing in this discussion? We are talking about disabled children who NEED institutions like The Child School. Shouldn't schools like that get a price break from what market rate is? Why is this even a discussion? Anything that helps to keep tuition low or financial aid high is a good thing.

Roozevelt said...

I'm not trying to spread anything.  It has nothing to do with me.  I heard it from a reliable source in RIRA.  Don't sound like you didn't hear it because everyone knows he's your friend.  Maybe you just don't want it out there just yet, but you know it's true.  As I said, it makes no difference to me.  I'd vote for him.

johny anderson said...

The issues apropos the Main Street Master Leaseholder are of abundant
affair to Roosevelt Island residents. Why does Absolute Acreage
Committee affair altercation on this affair accept to be in bankrupt
affair after the accessible getting able to attend.

 

jainalianveny said...

Of course, some of them, like this one, are online because they wish to abetment you in affairs some real estate.

 

jainalianveny said...

The factors are complex, but the actuality charcoal that the numbers are
absolutely rising, in animosity of a abatement real estate market.

 

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