Markowitz responded angrily to the transportation authority's plan to sell off its Madison Avenue headquarters, saying the revenue-raising scheme should have included the MTA's long-dormant office building at 370 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
“I am concerned that there has been little to no mention in the MTA's real estate plans about its intentions” for the Jay Street building, Markowitz said. “There simply is no excuse for how long the MTA has allowed this building to remain in such squalid condition.”
The 400,000-square-foot, city-owned property has been a major source of contention since the MTA began vacating it roughly ten years ago in anticipation of a planned $150 million renovation.
But the upgrade never came, leaving the mammoth site, which houses just a few dozen staff members and some equipment, covered in scaffolding for years on end, even as the MTA finished renovating the subway station beneath the building last winter.
This prompted Markowitz and other critics to make repeated calls for the authority to move quickly to fill the space, which benefits from its proximity to a bustling shopping district and several hotels. That, or hand it back to the city so it can find someone who can.
The centrally located building “remains one of the MTA's most underutilized investments,” Markowitz said. “Yet the MTA has allowed 370 Jay Street to sit almost empty when it could otherwise be generating much-needed revenue.”
The site did receive a brief mention in the MTA's statement about its plans to sell its Manhattan headquarters and consolidate other office space in order to raise $150 million for capital projects.
The authority said it would work to “unlock the value” of underutilized properties “such as 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn,” but did not elaborate on how it would do so.
“We're moving forward with the city to find a way to put the building to some sort of productive use,” said MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan.
Markowitz urged the MTA not to waste any more time.
“Leaving it virtually vacant and crumbling is not an acceptable option,” he said.
This building at 370 Jay Street was left out of a recent MTA plan to sell off underutilized property.