New York Supreme Court-Queens County Judge Carmen Velasquez ruled in April that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which took possession of the property through an eminent domain action six-years ago, pay $15.43 million, plus interest, for the property located in the Flushing, Queens neighborhood. The awarded compensation was more than three times higher than what the MTA offered to pay the property owner.
The MTA acquired the 2,601-square-foot property for improvements to the Flushing Long Island Rail-Road station. The MTA built elevators for the station’s eastbound and westbound platforms, a new ticket office, stairs, canopies and made other improvements. On the date of taking, the Downtown Flushing property was improved with a one-story retail building that that was leased to an Asian supermarket.
The judge cited that BBG Manager Director and Litigation Support Services Leader Eric P. Haims’ “highly credible” testimony regarding the information contained in his real estate appraisal as well as other testimony and evidence in the case led to the amount awarded to the property owner. New York-based law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP served as the property owner’s condemnation counsel in this case.
During the trial, Mr. Haims testified that his appraisal of the property was based on its desirable location in a growing and densely populated area on Main Street in Downtown Flushing adjacent to the LIRR Flushing Station and a few blocks from the Number 7 subway train. Mr. Haims’ appraisal took into account the area’s very strong retail market rental rates, high retail occupancy rates, future development potential, low capitalization rates and other pertinent data to determine a fair and reasonable value of the Main Street retail building.
Mr. Haims, MAI, AI-GRS, who works at BBG’s New York office, also testified that the area is “a center of commerce, transportation and finance with expensive and sought-after commercial and residential properties” and has significant development potential given that it is under-built and given its “as-of-right” floor area ratio.
The judge’s decision to award the full amount of compensation determined by the property owner’s real estate appraiser could be construed as unusual in most condemnation cases. It is more common for the court to award an amount between what was offered for the property by the condemning authority and what was determined by the owner’s real estate appraiser, according to Mr. Haims.
Mr. Haims commented on the court ruling: “We are excited that the court agreed with my thorough appraisal of the property and the legal team’s skilled litigation of the case, both which led to a very successful outcome for the owner of the property. Our work on this case exemplifies BBG’s reputation as an independent, experienced and trusted advisor providing the highest-quality valuation and litigation support services that our attorney, private and government agency clients seek and deserve.”
BBG offers comprehensive due diligence services including valuation, advisory, assessment, desktop evaluation, energy services, cost segregation, zoning, and ALTA surveys. Headquartered in Dallas, the firm has 40 offices in key US markets and more than 2,700 clients. As one of the Big Five national commercial real estate valuation firms, BBG has achieved a reputation for personal attention, on-time delivery and deep expertise in multi-family, office, retail and industrial sectors. For more information about BBG, please visit www.bbgres.com.