18, No. 20
Oct. 20 - Nov. 2, 2005
It started out as good news.
A reader called to tell us about a beautiful garden taking root at
Botanical Square, the large apartment complex on Webster Avenue just
south of Mosholu Parkway.
We went over to take a picture and came upon even more good news — new
owners were in the process of renovating the buildings. A resident
showed us newly painted hallways, better lighting and other
So, when our enterprising reporter, Heather Haddon, got back to the
office, she thought she’d be well on her way toward a good-news story
about an enlightened landlord who believed that taking care of the
property was a good business investment.
But when she consulted city records available on the Web and discovered
that the same company that owned Botanical Square had recently purchased
many properties in the area, she did some more digging.
What she found was troubling. The strategy of the Pinnacle organization
and the Praedium Group seems to be to buy buildings, fix them up, raise
rents more than what a normal capital improvement increase should
normally allow, and then sell to the highest bidder.
Longtime tenants will suffer and many will have no choice but to leave.
We expect that local housing advocates (the northwest Bronx has many of
these thanks to the area’s history of real estate speculation with
disastrous consequences), city officials, and local politicians, will
investigate these companies’ practices before it is too late.
Tenants are enjoying the benefits of improved buildings now, but a
difficult future could be just around the corner.
Armory Clock Ticks And Ticks
There was a lot of good feeling in July, when practically every local
lawmaker showed up to escort Governor Pataki on a tour of the
But, as far as we know, not one positive development has come from that
meeting more than 15 weeks ago — 106 days to be exact.
The problem, as Armory watchers and Norwood News readers well know, is
fairly simple. Two National Guard companies, now based out of the
Armory’s annex to the rear of the Armory main’s buildings — the massive
drill hall and head house — must be moved if community plans for the
landmark facility are to be realized.
The land that annex occupies is the only part of the Armory where the
city can site new public schools. Schools are the linchpin of a
consensus finally arrived at last year by community residents and
elected and city officials.
The main problem appears to be that no one seems to want to take the
lead on finding a new location for the Guard. The city and state appear
to think that it is the other’s job.
Mostly, though, it seems that aside from some local politicians, no city
or state official particularly cares all that much what happens at the
We hope that once the mayoral election is over, Mayor Bloomberg will
re-direct some of the laser-beam focus his administration applied to the
West Side stadium project to goals more achievable and desired by
ordinary New Yorkers. The Armory, which has the benefit of already being
in the city’s inventory, would seem to be the kind of local economic
development project our businessman mayor would seize on with relish.
We expect we’ll now need to wait until Bloomberg retools his
administration — or Fernando Ferrer introduces his — in January to see
any new movement on the Armory front.
In the meantime, the Armory Clock keeps on ticking …
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