The Crown Heights gardeners that have been fighting to save their plot, called Roger that Garden, from a developer are facing a massive bill if they hope to regain rights to the property. According to a story in the New York Post, the owner, Steve Billings of TYC Realty, says the price for the lot on Rogers Avenue and Park Place is now as high as $1,000,000. The Post says that he bought the parcel for just $10 and the property now has over $8,500 in unpaid tax liens.
The city demolished an abandoned hardware store on the site in 2006 to create the garden but it never found the owner to obtain the deed. Billings tracked down the owner’s daughter and bought the property. He has been threatening to kick out the gardeners since January. They raised $15,000 to purchase the property but when the group took the offer to the developer he told them he wanted $500,000. Now he has doubled his asking price, all for a lot that the gardener say is worth about $80,000.
One volunteer told the Post: “This developer is attempting to get $1 million from taxpayers, volunteers and nonprofit donations for something [he] paid nothing for. Despicable!”