Today’s news:

MTA finally gives up its Jay Street ghost

Brooklyn Daily

The MTA has finally agreed to part with its long-vacant eyesore above the Jay Street subway station in Downtown — a move that could save the agency millions and speed the revitalization of a derelict block.

The agency announced on Monday that it would give up its control over the city-owned building at 370 Jay St. — and local elected officials were joyous.

“The city can finally move forward to transform 370 Jay St. into a job-creating economic anchor in Downtown,” said Borough President Markowitz. “[This will support] the growth of neighboring Class A tenants and existing academic and cultural institutions.”

Others expressed hope that the city would go through with the complete sale of the property.

“We hope a developer will come forward,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights).

Local officials have criticized the agency for neglecting the city office building for years, allowing it to fall apart as staffers were deployed elsewhere. Currently, the building makes a crummy first impression for visitors leaving the busy Jay Street-Metrotech subway station, and remains an eyesore in a neighborhood steadily undergoing a renaissance.

Concerned city boosters took to the streets in 2008 to demand that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority sell its controlling interest in the building — but the agency instead announced plans to renovate the building at a price tag of over $150 million.

But this week’s decision to part with the prime real estate comes amid continuing budgetary woes for the perpetually cash-strapped agency. The MTA hopes to gain tens of millions of dollars from the lease of the building, which was valued around $100 million in 2008.

“These revenues represent just a very small fraction of the MTA’s capital funding needs [but] every bit helps,” said Jeffrey Rosen MTA’s director of real estate.

The agency’s capital program funds major infrastructure projects for the MTA such as the building of the Second Avenue subway line or train yards, as well as the rehab of tracks and stations.

Updated 2:48 am, September 27, 2011: With this story, we welcome Eli Rosenberg to the Community Newspaper Group family. Welcome aboard, kid.
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