The Marriott Marquis, the 50-story convention hotel in Times Square, sits atop some of the most valuable land in all of New York City, if not the world. But because of a lease signed by the Giuliani administration in 1998, Marriott can buy the property from the city for only $19.9 million, one-tenth of its current $193 million value, according to a new audit by the city comptroller, John C. Liu. Mr. Liu said the problems with the 1998 lease could end up costing taxpayers $344.9 million in lost rent and proceeds from the sale of the property. Marriott, whose Marquis Times Square generates more revenue
Comments: Of course the blame for this is placed on the Giuliani administration and a non-existent comparative analysis by the then Economic Development Corporation. I´m surprised that there is no mention of Trump making an earlier bid for this property when it was allegedly in a "bad neighborhood" for tourists. I may not be schooled in economics, but know that Times Square is probably one of the most recognizable places on the earth & property will always be of highest value.
To judge the situation fairly, one needs to know the condition of the property at the time of the lease as well as the terms of the lease. Often, a tenant will pay above-market rent in exchange for a lower price on a purchase option.
seems like an argument could be made that the presence of Marriott there (with their considerable reputation for reliable quality and name recognition/brand equity) is part of the reason why the real estate in the area has grown in value.
Mr. Liu is planning on running for mayor in the next election. He has had several scandals in his recent past (I have not been following them closely, so I am not sure to what degree his behavior has been scandalous and to what degree he has merely been caught up in the scandal). He is looking for something to give him a positive view for looking out for the city.
Pity the poor Indians who sold Manhattan for $24.00 worth of junk jewelry. They got screwed more than the taxpayers of today. (BTW, I call them "Indians" and not the PC words, because at the time of the sale, that is what they were called by historians.)
I remember walking through Times Square on the way to see a play, and seeing a woman shooting heroin into her veins not far from where the Marriott stands now. The area was a war zone, full of junkies, prostitutes, porno shops and lowlifes.
Those were different times. That Marriott and others risked capital in building there is what saved Times Square.
The Marriott reached a long term agreement with the city that has created one of the most valuable pieces of property in the world and has paid large amounts of money in taxes over the course of many years. In addition, the city has collected billions of taxes on surrounding real estate. If Marriott buys the property, the city will get 19.9 million from the sale. How is this costing taxpayers anything? This is like leasing a house with an option to buy. You replace the roof, the AC, the hot water heaters, the flooring, the wall coverings, the kitchen counters and appliances etc. You spend $20,000 but it increases the value by $40,000. The landlord must live by the terms of the lease and did nothing to increase the value.
If the city got rid of rent control, the property taxes would skyrocket. As it is, certain people are paying a pittance for some of the most valuable living space in Manhattan. Much more important than this suit.
Vienna - A U.S. institute tracking North Korea’s nuclear weapons program says recent satellite photos show Pyongyang is doubling the size of its uranium enrichment plant, jibing with the country’s announced plans to expand technology that can be used both to create energy and the core of nuclear weapons. (Snip) In an accompanying note, ISIS said the photos of the Nyongbyon nuclear complex show construction under way to “effectively double” the size of the enrichment hall. That, said ISIS, would allow North Korea to also double the number of centrifuges now enriching uranium.
President Barack Obama discussed Edward Snowden, the health care law, Hillary Clinton and Russia during a Tuesday visit to "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." But Obama´s comments about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin had special local interest. George Zimmerman was acquitted last month of murder in the teen´s death in Sanford. Some Americans have criticized Obama previously for commenting on the issue, but Leno said that the president had spoken eloquently and from the heart about Trayvon´s death. "I think all of us were troubled by what happened," Obama told Leno.
Anyone who regularly uses social networks like Twitter, YouTube or Reddit may have had the unfortunately common experience of having to deal with trolls, those wonderful human beings who take pleasure from harassing and upsetting others. (Snip) I wasn´t planning to write about the experience, but it concerns me that trolling has become such a prevalent aspect of social networking. When you are told over and over again by strangers that you are useless at your job, that you are worthless as a human being, that you´re ugly, it´s no surprise that both teenagers and adults alike have resorted to
The war in Syria poses the greatest threat to US security because of the risk of the government falling and the country becoming a weapons-rich haven for al-Qaeda, a CIA official says. (Snip) Morell said there were now more foreign fighters flowing into Syria each month to take up arms with al-Qaeda-affiliated groups than there were going to Iraq to fight with al-Qaeda at the height of the war there. The Syrian government´s weapons "are going to be up for grabs and up for sale" as they were in Libya when Moamer Kadhafi fell, he added. "It's probably the most important issue in the world today,"
Trenton - Gov. Chris Christie today signed an executive order creating a new investigative unit to uncover pension and disability benefits fraud perpetrated by public employees across the state. The governor´s office said in a statement the unit will be housed within the state Treasury Department and will be headed by Jim Scott, a former criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service who currently works in the state Attorney General´s Office. “Siphoning of pension and disability benefits by fraud or ineligibility hurts everyone, including honest current and future pensioners and,
GPS tracking of Washington & Jefferson College football player´s stolen iPhone led Washington police to three suspects who were arrested yesterday in the player´s October 2012 beating death. According to criminal complaints police filed Tuesday, GPS tracking of Timothy McNerney´s phone, taken from him in the attack, indicated the phone was near the Houston Street home of Adam R. Hankins, 23, of Washington and the McDonald home of Eric Dante Wells, 24. Confronted Tuesday at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Fayette County, both men admitted their roles
Currently, women diagnosed with with early stage invasive breast cancer undergo a biopsy of their lymph nodes during surgery to remove tumours in the breast. They have to wait up to three weeks for the result, and if further disease is found, they have go undergo a second operation. The new test means that surgeons can find out if cancer has spread during the initial surgery - and if they find it, they can remove it at the same time. (Snip) The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the test - the RD-100i OSNA system produced by Sysmex UK - for women with early
A Russian television channel accidentally interrupted its evening news show with a doom-laden report of evils committed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently slipped on air by a disgruntled employee. (Snip) It would be unthinkable for Russian state television to air a report critical of Putin. The planted news item went on to link Putin to the 2006 murder of journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya and attack corruption that had reached "unimaginable heights". It launched into the terrorist attacks at the beginning of Putin´s presidency, saying they raised his approval rating,
Amman & Doha - Saudi Arabia has offered Russia economic incentives including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if Moscow scales back support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle East sources and Western diplomats said on Wednesday. (Snip) Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons as well as ensuring that Gulf gas would not threaten Russia´s position as a main gas supplier to Europe. In return, Saudi Arabia wanted Moscow to ease its strong support of Assad and
If justice were administered by popular vote, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan would have disappeared into a maximum-security hole a long time ago. He might already be dead. He might have been executed by now for his undisputed role in the murders of 13 people and the injuries of 32 more in the Fort Hood shooting rampage four years ago. If regular Joes like me and you got to decide what seems reasonable and fair, Hasan would have been forced a long time ago to shave off his holy-man beard, quit drawing a paycheck from the U.S. government and put a sock in that “soldier for Allah” business.
They´re back! The isolationist poltergeists that forever haunt the Republican Party. Or so we´re told. In July, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had a set-to over American foreign policy. Christie clumsily denounced "this strain of libertarianism that´s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought." It was clumsy in its garbled syntax but also in its ill-considered shot at "libertarianism." What he meant to say, I think, was "isolationist," and that is the term a host of commentators on the left and right are using to describe Paul and his
US senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have joined top diplomats in Cairo to help find a peaceful solution to Egypt´s political stalemate. The Pentagon said Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel had called army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to discuss mediation progress by US and EU envoys. (Snip) Both senators have made several trips to Egypt since the country´s revolution in 2011. Before heading to Cairo, Senator Graham warned that the Egyptian military must back out of politics quickly or risk a cut of the $1.3bn (£860m) in aid that it receives from the US each year.
WASHINGTON — U.S. officials insisted Tuesday that extraordinary security measures for nearly two dozen diplomatic posts were to thwart an “immediate, specific threat,” a claim questioned by counterterrorism experts, who note that the alert covers an incongruous set of nations from the Middle East to an island off the southern coast of Africa. Analysts don’t dispute the Obama administration’s narrative that it’s gleaned intelligence on a plot involving al Qaida’s most active affiliate, the Yemen-based Arabian Peninsula branch. That would explain why most U.S. posts in the Persian Gulf are on lockdown, including the U.
The truth about Benghazi, the Associated Press/James Rosen monitoring, the IRS corruption, the NSA octopus, and Fast and Furious is still not exactly known. Almost a year after the attacks on our Benghazi facilities, we are only now learning details of CIA gun-running, military stand-down orders, aliases of those involved who are still hard to locate, massaged talking points, and the weird jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. We still do not quite know why Eric Holder’s Justice Department went after the Associated Press or Fox News’s James Rosen — given that members of the administration were themselves illegally leaking
Critics of the president are convinced that Barack Obama will do lasting damage to the U.S. I doubt it. Obama came to power in the third year of large Democratic congressional majorities. In his first referendum, he lost the House and he may soon lose the Senate; in other words, there followed a somewhat normal reaction against a majority party. Obama’s popularity rating is well below 50%, despite an obsequious media and a brilliantly negative billion-dollar campaign that long ago turned Mitt Romney into a veritable elevator-using, equestrian-marrying, canine-hating monster. In the second term, there is little
He thought he was a woman trapped in a man’s body — but it turns out he’s “just another boring straight guy.” ABC News editor Don Ennis strolled into the newsroom in May wearing a little black dress and an auburn wig and announced he was transgender and splitting from his wife. He wanted to be called Dawn. But now he says he suffered from a two-day bout of amnesia that has made him realize he wants to live his life again as Don. “I accused my wife of playing some kind of cruel joke, dressing
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney jumped into the debate over the GOP’s future Tuesday night, warning congressional Republicans against forcing a government shutdown in their quest to stop President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Romney addressed more than 200 donors on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party, staged just four miles from the vacation home where he has spent much of the summer with his family. The event was closed to the media, but his office released his prepared remarks.
The U.S. State Department issued a global alert about the terrorist threat allegedly posed by Al-Qaeda in Yemen. The USA announced the closure of its missions in the Middle East and Africa, and their example was followed by France, Britain, and Germany. However, this was only an attempt to justify the activities of the National Security Agency.Last Saturday, right after alerting of the terror threat civilians and BOLO complex ("be on the lookout") that includes law enforcement and federal officials, President Barack Obama went to play golf, and then celebrated his birthday at the presidential retreat at Camp David.
WASHINGTON — Former Massachusetts lawmaker Barney Frank revealed that he doesn’t believe in God. During Friday’s appearance on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Frank, who championed the decriminalization of pot while serving in the House of Representatives, admitted to smoking marijuana and being an atheist. “You were in a fairly safe district. You were not one of those congress people who would have to worry about every little thing,” Maher said to Frank. “You could come on this show and sit next to a pot-smoking atheist and it wouldn’t bother you.”
In a rare diplomatic snub, President Obama is canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month. The decision reflects both U.S. anger over Russia´s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow´s stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights. Obama will still attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but a top White House official said the president had no plans to hold one-on-one talks with Putin while there.
A poll released Friday by Public Policy Polling found that Alaska voters would pick former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the state´s former Republican governor, Sarah Palin, if the two women were to face off in the 2016 presidential election. Clinton led with 49 percent in the hypothetical match-up, with Palin at 40 percent, a nine-point gap. As of July 3, Republicans comprised 27 percent of the state´s registered voters and Democrats made up just 14 percent. The last time Alaskans opted for the Democrats´ presidential candidate was in 1964. Clinton trails five other hypothetical GOP candidates –
Over the last week, there has been a lot of buzz about a supposed CIA angle to the Benghazi story. Specifically, it has been alleged that a substantial number of CIA employees were on the ground in Benghazi, carrying out a mission that involved rounding up Libyan weapons and transferring them to rebels in Syria. Further, it has been reported that the CIA has leaned on its employees not to cooperate with Congressional investigations or the media, and it has been suggested that the CIA’s role in Benghazi may be related to the al Qaeda
President Obama is slated to deliver a speech later this month commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Obama will deliver his speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — the same place where King spoke 50 years ago. The Let Freedom Ring ceremony will be held Aug. 28. "It’s obviously a historic, seminal event in the country. It’s part of my generation’s formative memory and it’s a good time for us to do some reflection,"
Speaking from Egypt Tuesday night, where they are hoping to broker a peaceful transition period between the country’s ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi to its next phase of nascent democracy, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham warned that concessions on both sides needed to begin immediately or Egypt’s government would “fail.” “I didn’t know it was this bad,” Graham said. “These folks are just days, weeks away from all out bloodshed.” “There is only one way that we can bring about a peaceful Egypt, and that is a process of negotiation and reconciliation between major players,” McCain said.