Vito’s Plans for Pfizer: A Gross Misuse of Eminent Domain?

This morning the Sun takes a look at the drive to seize the old Pfizer plant in Williamsburg via eminent domain. Assemblyman Vito Lopez introduced a bill that would result in the state condemning the 15-acre property so it could acquire it and issue its own request for proposals to create around 1,700 affordable housing units. Pfizer intends to shut down the plant at the end of this year, and it released its own request for proposals for a mixed-use development on the site that would also include affordable housing. Lopez’s chief of staff says Pfizer’s RFP isn’t good enough since it doesn’t specify how much affordable housing would come out the site’s redevelopment, but Pfizer begs to differ. “Not only is the concept of state-sponsored eminent domain extremely premature at this point and could have implications for development statewide but the legislation’s justification fails to mention affordable housing is one of the key uses already being considered,” said a spokesperson for the pharma giant in a statement. Critics of Lopez’s plan think his bill would result in a completely unwarranted use of eminent domain. “The fact that this grossly mistreats business doesn’t make it any better,” says Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. “If Lopez wants the affordable housing on that site then he should work with Pfizer to get it included in the development and require that they build it on their property.”
Eminent Domain Foes Fear Bid By Assemblyman [NY Sun]
Pfizer v. Vito for Rights to Old Pfizer Plant [Brownstoner]
Photo by hi-lo.

0 Comment

  • Seems like Pfizer may make a strange but valuable ally for those engaged in the fight against eminent domain.

  • lopez is such a numbnuts. He must think he’s still in Cuba

  • Brownstoner: Can you perhaps make an option whereby registered users can choose not to read comments posted by guest users?

    The signal to noise ratio amongst guest comments has gotten too low for my tastes. I don’t even really want to read them anymore.

  • Brownstoner:

    Here’s the javascript to do this:

    // begin
    var guests = document.getElementsByClassName(‘guest’);
    for(var g in guests) {
    guests[g].style.display = ‘none’;
    // end

    Make a link with an onclick event that does that and you get a “hide guest comments” button.

  • @Polemisicist,

    I made a bookmarklet available from my personal blog. You can drag the link on my blog to your browser toolbar and click it to hide all guest comments on any Brownstoner page.

    I only tested with Firefox so YMMV.

  • Eminent domain is the nuclear bomb of municipal gov’ts – a last ditch weapon of mass distruction. As such, it is dangerous, and shouldn’t be used in 99% of situations. Vito Lopez should not be wielding it like a baseball bat.

    Goldstein and Pfizer (talk about odd bedfellows) are correct. Work with Pfizer before threatening anything. They actually seem to want to do right by this, considering they are getting rid of 600 jobs. They could have just sold the site to the highest bidder.

    This is just a politician playing with real concerns – truly affordable housing, in order to get street cred and make his rep among the boys and girls in Albany and City Hall. If he was really concerned about getting needed housing for the community, he would be working with, not against, a wealthy sponsor who is trying to accomplish the same goals.

  • sstrudeau:

    Cool. Having a bit of trouble getting it to work though, even with scriptmonkey. Can you format it for that program?

    I don’t really know anything about web scripting, but I do like scriptmonkey.

  • Polemicist shut up! Just scrolled down. Many non guest give better points and comments than common loggers like u.

  • I don’t understand how anyone would give merit to a grab at valued real estate by the chairman of the Democratic Party of Kings County. But the idea of part of Bushwick being designated the People’s Democratic Republic of Lopezia does intrigue one.

  • Vito Lopez is still taking orders from his jailhouse cronie Clarence Norman Jr. Who is still calling the shots like another famous brooklyn gangster we all know….

  • why does vito lopez keep getting elected?

  • If this legislation will provide for a development project that has a mix of affordable housing for seniors, municipal employees, the disabled, and working class families, then I am all for it.

    Pfizer wants to walk away from New York City and provide only a small amount of affordable housing. For a company that has received millions of dollars of subsidies and tax breaks, this seems cold hearted at best.

    If the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) had sought to seize the property, there would be no legal controversy. Assemblyman Lopez is simply fighting for seniors and families who are facing displacement, which is precisely the reason that he continues to be re-elected. He stands up to companies like Pfizer that want to walk away without giving back adequately to the city that helped make it.

    Also, this is an abandoned factory and the parking lot that surrounds it, not an owner occupied home, so I think Mr. Goldstein’s passion in this situation is a bit misplaced. I guess what Emerson said about foolish consistencies is right.

  • 4:53, Lopez keeps getting re-elected because as a fairly senior assembly member, and chair of the housing committee, he is able to bring the bacon back to the district. I despise the man myself, but that is the simple fact of the matter.