In his ongoing push for efficiency, efficiency, efficiency in city government, Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan during his State of the City address in January to consolidate city departments downtown.
The proposal not only helps co-locate agencies, improving collaboration, but also saves the city money on operating expenses, as much as $100 million over the next 20 years according to the city’s projections as it vacates three historic buildings around City Hall. The Bloomberg administration is further enriching the city’s coffers by selling off the properties to private developers.
Borough President Scott Stringer has complained that the property is not being put to better use, as public land has elsewhere in the five boroughs has been, and so he has voted against the sale of the buildings as part of the public review process for their disposition.
Outside a freezing cold Chambers Street municipal building Friday afternoon, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stressed his commitment to block any sale by the Bloomberg administration of three Lower Manhattan buildings owned by the city.
The mayor made reference to the sale in his State of the City last week, involving 22 Reade Street, 49-51 Chambers Street and 346 Broadway, part of the effort to streamline government, in this case through the consolidation and co-location of government office. The borough president argues, however, that the buildings might be put to better use than being sold off for private development.
“By any measure this Lower Manhattan community is suffering from overcrowded classrooms, school shortages and a lack of affordable housing to meet the needs of its constituents,” said Mr. Stringer, who is expected to run for mayor. He seems to have found a special loophole because the city is selling the property through the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which the borough president argues offers him oversight of the sales.
“If you try to get rid of these buildings through the E.D.C. process,” Mr. Stringer continued, “you must go before the Borough Board and that’s where there will be a final say and that’s why I’m here today to let the Mayor and those at City Government know that we’re all going to have to work together on this.”