ANOTHER FEINER FIASCO
Supervisor Feiner and the Greenburgh Town Board have decided to lease Town-owned land located at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road (the former Frank’s Nursery) to a start-up company, Game On 365, to build a sports bubble facility (161,500 sq. ft and 8 stories high).
In typical Feiner fashion, the proposed lease is terrible for Town residents and the Town will lose money on this lease. Here are some of the major issues:
- NO TAXES TO BE PAID BY TENANT: The Town has decided to personally pay any and all taxes owed by Game On (Lease p.2). After the $6.9M facility is assessed, tThis will be around $250K paid by the residents of Greenburgh every year. The Town will collect $260K in rent from Game On. The amount the Town will pay in taxes each year will almost equal what is collected in rent. This doesn’t even include the likely increase to the Town in community services from such a huge facility. The Town will NOT MAKE ANY MONEY OFF THIS PROPERTY FOR 15 YEARS. Game On, however, boasts that they will have revenues of $69M+ over 15 years.
Supervisor Feiner claims that taxes will not be $250K because the Town lowered it to approximately $104K in 2010 when they took control of the empty property. However, when the new $6.9M construction is reassessed, it will surely be taxed more than the $240K that the small Frank’s Nursery paid in 1994 (see the Property Card on the Greenburgh website). If the Town doesn’t reassess the property, they will be shortchanging taxpayers to fund a private business with YOUR MONEY.
- GAME ON TO COLLECT MORE SUBLEASING 7,500 SQ. FT. TO RETAIL TENANTS THAN THEY WILL PAY THE TOWN IN RENT FOR THE ENTIRE FACILITY (161,500 SQ. FT. ON 7 ACRES): Game On has projected to earn $300-330K in annual rental income from 5 subtenants who will be using approximately 7,500 sq. ft. (less than 5% of their entire square footage) of their Clubhouse building. Game On will be paying the Town $260-335K in annual rent for the entire facility. Game On will be paying 62 CENTS PER SQ. FT. for rent to the Town while charging approximately $40 per sq. ft. to their subtenants. Does any other business in Greenburgh pay 62 CENTS? When the economics of a deal don’t make sense, it is a clear indicator of something else going on behind the scenes.
- TAXPAYERS TO PAY FOR UNKNOWN ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN-UP: The Town will use taxpayer money to pay for an environmental clean-up (Lease p.14) on this known to be contaminated site (pesticides, oil and unknown fill soil) and they have been keeping the fact that taxpayers will pay for it from residents. There is no maximum amount to the clean-up and no way out for the Town. The Town will be on the hook for an unlimited cost that has not been determined or budgeted for.
Supervisor Feiner has been stating that the clean-up will be $100K, but there is no basis for this number. Woodard & Curran performed the Phase I assessment (which did not include a soil sample) and recommended that a Phase II (soil samples, etc.) be performed. Without this information, the Town has no basis to guess the cost of the clean-up. Supervisor Feiner is also claiming that the Town will have no “out of pocket” expense. However, although Game On will first lay out the money for the clean-up, the Town will reimburse Game On in a rent abatement so the end result is TAXPAYERS WILL PAY FOR IT.
- NO RENT PAYMENT DURING DEVELOPMENT OF UP TO 3 ½ YEARS: Game On won’t pay a dime until after Town approvals, which could take up to 3 ½ years, and they can walk away at any time (Lease p.16-17).
- NO FINANCES REQUIRED FOR LEASE FROM START-UP COMPANY: The lease doesn’t contain any standard provisions for finances, guaranty or security. This is because Game On has NO MONEY and plans to raise the $7.5M for the facility AFTER they sign the 15 year lease with the Town at risk, not them. The Town bears ALL the financial risks. CAN ANY OF US SIGN A LEASE WITH NO MONEY?
- NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE: The Town has illegally decided not to do any traffic, parking, noise, EMF, aesthetic or community services (SEQR) studies PRIOR to entering the lease (which is considered to be an action under SEQR). With the Fortress Bible Church and School soon to be built just 2,500 ft. east on the same road, environmental impacts need a hard look. Residents will not be protected from potential harms without these studies being done prior to the lease, as the law states they must.
- TOWN REJECTS MUCH BETTER OFFER: The Town has an offer of $1.5M to buy the property “as is” and the adjacent property (2 acres smaller) is on the market for $3.5M. If sold, the Town can immediately add this property to the tax roll for hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, which is hundreds of thousands more each year than they will receive with the current lease.
The Town has also recently received an offer from a business that is willing to pay $10M over 15 years, which amounts to $667K per year (vs. $260K per year from Game On), and this company WILL PAY TAXES. That would be a total of almost $1M per year more than Game On is willing to pay the Town, every year for 15 years. A total result of $15M more for the Town.
The lease is available on the Town of Greenburgh’s website. There will be an informal meeting on July 18th at 7pm at Frank’s Nursery and then the Town Board will vote on July 25th at 7:30pm at Town Hall.
Now is the time to tell the Town Board that this lease is unacceptable and that an informal meeting without the Town Board is inappropriate for a project of this magnitude.
Contact Supervisor Feiner at: email@example.com, 914-438-1343 (cell), 914-993-1540 (office).