Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Brooklyn Nets arena and the as-yet-mostly-unbuilt surrounding Atlantic Yards housing tower project, is suing the city for lower property tax payments on one of its parking lots. Because that’s just what developers do:
The Finance Department put the block’s market value at $11.2 million for its current fiscal year, which began July 1. But FCR says in a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court that it’s only worth about $1.6 million…
“As you can imagine, real estate and development companies like Forest City have a fiduciary responsibility to review and question assessments in a timely manner,” FCR spokesman Joe DePlasco told DNAinfo New York.
“This is a standard operating procedure for these types of companies.”
FCR, you may recall, last year sued the city over its Barclays Center tax bill, then later said it was a mistake, after realizing that Barclays Center doesn’t pay taxes. Nor does the parking lot block, technically, but it does pay PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes), which, unlike the PILOTs for the actual arena site, the city gets to keep, rather than kicking them back to pay off Ratner’s arena costs.
Under the deal to build on the Atlantic Yards, FCR leases the block for a nominal fee from the state’s Empire State Development Corporation.
Since the state owns the Atlantic Yards, the land is exempt from property taxes. However, FCR must make payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, to the city to develop the block.
The PILOT amount for the block is the equivalent of what FCR would pay the city in property taxes, according to the ESDC. The Finance Department determined that for this fiscal year the property tax for the block would be nearly $700,000, according to city records.
If the court agrees to lower the city’s appraisal, FCR would in turn pay a smaller PILOT amount, according to the ESDC.
This is apparently the kind of lawsuit that land owners file all the time, so no hard feelings or anything between FCR and the city. Unlike the lawsuit by employees of Ludwig’s Drug Store charging racist treatment when they attended games in the store’s luxury suite, which looks to have hard feelings aplenty — understandable when you’ve been charged $1,000 for a pizza.