BP MARKOWITZ STATEMENT ON 370 JAY STREET AND MTA’S PLAN TO SELL MIDTOWN MANHATTAN BUILDINGS
“The selling of superfluous properties and the consolidation of offices has been one of my primary recommendations to the MTA to close budget gaps during this difficult fiscal crisis, and I am pleased that under the leadership of Chairman Jay Walder, the MTA is taking steps in this direction. However, I am concerned that there has been little to no mention in the MTA’s real estate plans about its intentions for the fallow 400,000-square-foot property at 370 Jay Street in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn.
Since 2008, I along with other elected officials and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, have called on the MTA to dispose of this property, which has remained nearly vacant and poorly maintained for more than a decade. The MTA’s response has been to reassert its desire to hold on to the property and to insist that the building is necessary for locating future back offices. Yet, while the rest of the surrounding business district has undergone tremendous and transformative growth, 370 Jay Street has languished in sidewalk scaffolding and a black scrim reaching to its highest floors to protect passersby from the structure’s crumbling facade. And while the MTA recently renovated this property’s adjacent subway station, now called Jay Street-Metro Tech, this wonderfully restored station stands in sharp contrast to the poor condition of the MTA building above it.
The impact of this building’s neglect cannot be understated and there simply is no excuse for how long the MTA has allowed this building to remain in such squalid condition when so many opportunities exist for the City and MTA to profit from alternative development. 370 Jay Street remains one of the MTA’s most underutilized investments. It is in close proximity to Class A tenants such as National Grid, JPMorgan Chase, El Diario La Prensa, Forest City Ratner, the 800-room New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, and Renaissance Plaza. Yet, the MTA has allowed 370 Jay Street to sit almost empty when it could otherwise be generating much-needed revenue.
Once again I call on the MTA to either expedite the renovation and back office reoccupation of this property or return the building to the City. Leaving it virtually vacant and crumbling is not an acceptable option.”