From the NY Times:
The Bloomberg administration has been pushing through more than $12 billion worth of real estate projects in its waning days, trying to solidify the mayor’s claim to having transformed the face of New York City and lock in plans before Bill de Blasio takes over Jan. 1.
The gusher of projects recently approved or on track for approval in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s final days include an outlet mall and a giant observation wheel on Staten Island, totaling $580 million, and a relatively modest $16 million building in Manhattan with 55 experimental micro-apartments, as well as a $2 billion residential complex on the Brooklyn waterfront and the country’s largest indoor skating complex, to be built in the Bronx.
Mr. Bloomberg has sought to remake the city’s landscape for the 21st century, pushing for higher-density development and higher-quality design and opening up the city’s vast waterfront to new residential, recreational and commercial uses. Nearly 40 percent of the city has been rezoned during the mayor’s 12 years in office.
The man spearheading the efforts, the deputy mayor Robert K. Steel, and other officials have made it clear to the City Council, as well as to the real estate and construction industries, that they are determined to finish public reviews for a number of “legacy projects” before Mr. Bloomberg leaves office.
The projects, which will begin construction well after Mayor-elect de Blasio takes office in January, also bind the new mayor to the old mayor’s agenda, at least for a while. By Dec. 31, some projects, like a $1.2 billion Hudson Yards office tower and a $1.7 billion Hunter College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center complex, will have reached the point that they cannot be stopped or modified.
Others, like a soccer stadium in the Bronx, a Coney Island amphitheater and a residential complex at the former Domino sugar factory in Brooklyn, could still be halted or changed. The Domino project has won widespread support, but Mr. de Blasio has expressed “serious concerns” about a proposed $350 million soccer stadium near Yankee Stadium because the Bloomberg administration planned to provide the soccer team’s wealthy owners with public resources, including tax exemptions.
The Bloomberg administration has also granted tax breaks worth tens of millions of dollars for the first phase of the $3 billion Willets Point project in Queens, for a proposed office tower on the West Side of Manhattan and for the outlet mall on Staten Island.
“They made no secret about the fact that they’re working very hard to lock in a number of major projects for the future,” said Brad Lander, a councilman from Brooklyn. “De Blasio said everything will be reviewed. But some things can be reviewed and changed more than others.”
For his part, Mr. de Blasio, who was the city’s public advocate before being elected mayor, opposed few projects during the Bloomberg era and embraced the notion of high-density development near transit centers. But he has made it clear that he will drive a harder bargain with developers to get the best deal for taxpayers.
Sure he will.