Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pfizer Offering Williamsburg Plant Site for Affordable Housing—So, Why’s a State Assemblyman Trying to Seize It?

January 20, 2008
The New York Observer
Eliot Brown

All of Pfizer’s plans, however, could be for naught if State Assemblyman Vito Lopez is successful in a bid to claim the site with eminent domain and develop it for affordable housing. First reported in Crain’s New York Business, Mr. Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, has been drafting a bill that would have the state’s housing agency acquire the site, then issue its own request for proposals so as to create about 1,700 housing units.
Mr. Lopez, the chairman of the Assembly’s housing committee, has pushed for large levels of affordable housing, often irking city officials and other legislators who consider his demands unreasonable and unrealistic. His efforts, however, received a shout-out from Governor Spitzer in his State of the State address last week, in which he praised Mr. Lopez for his commitment to affordable housing.

Pfizer, in a candid statement, said the company finds it “extremely puzzling that a legislator would propose a government seizure of private property through eminent domain to ostensibly re-develop the properties with the same types of uses we are already considering.”


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