View Poll Results: Are Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Worth It?

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  • BIDs are a waste of money.

    1 16.67%
  • Money is spent wisely by BIDs.

    5 83.33%
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: DUMBO Developer Proposes BID & Charges Residents

  1. #1

    Default DUMBO Developer Proposes BID & Charges Residents

    There Aren't Too Many Businesses to Improve

    Published: February 1, 2004

    Picture of Neighborhood contained the following caption:
    “Yes, there’s a chocolate shop nearby, but are there enough stores for a BID?”

    Madison Avenue this is not. And don't be fooled by the $4.35 chocolate bars at the chocolatier Jacques Torres on Water Street.

    The Brooklyn neighborhood called Dumbo has leapfrogged from being a gritty manufacturing district to a hot residential outpost, largely under the guidance of the developer David Walentas, the president of Two Trees Management. But it still has little in the way of stores, restaurants and other businesses.

    That is why a Walentas-backed proposal for a business improvement district in Dumbo is the subject of a growing debate about whom BID's serve and who should pay for them. Property owners in a BID pay a special tax that the city collects and the district then uses to improve the area.

    Two Trees owns about half the property, as determined by value, in the proposed district, a 30-square-block area, bounded by Old Fulton Street, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Bridge Street and the East River. The BID would use its annual budget of $400,000 to pay for, among other things, a night security patrol, trash removal, marketing and improved signs and lighting.

    The proposed BID has yet to be approved by the City Planning Commission, the local community board or the City Council, and it is unclear when it would become a reality.

    Dumbo would be unusual, but not unique, among BID's in that it has a high and growing proportion of residential property owners , who would be asked to help pay for the BID. Only 11 of the 46 BID's in New York depend on residential property owners for significant financing.

    Residential owners in Dumbo would be charged at half the commercial rate and contribute, in total, about $52,000 a year to the BID. Most condo owners would be expected to pay $100 to $150 each annually.

    The Dumbo Neighborhood Association supports the BID but some residents see the assessment as insult added to the injury of the 18.5 percent increase in city property taxes that took effect at the end of 2002. For them, it's not a matter of $150, it's a matter of principle.

    Oddly, one of the largest pending commercial developments in the district, the Empire Stores, a cavernous brick warehouse that Boymelgreen Developers plans to turn into a high-end mall, would probably not have to contribute to the BID because the property is owned by a state agency.

    Many opponents of the BID also believe that the plan is an attempt by developers to make residents foot the bill for maintenance and marketing. John McDermott, a board member at 1 Main Street, said he felt the BID was designed to "pay for a marketing campaign.'' And he added, "It's to make it more attractive to sell condos."
    But Two Trees Management contends that the BID will not save it any money.

    "We're backing this,'' said Isaac Esterman, a project manager at Two Trees, ''but we're also willing to pay for it." Two Trees, he added, would end up paying about half of the BID's annual assessment and did not plan to pass on that cost to its commercial tenants, though, legally, it could.

    The New York Times
    Sunday, February 1, 2004

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI


    I think the $100-$150 is fair enough. BIDs usually work out very well for the area.

  3. #3
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    A number of them have been quite effective: Times Square BID, Grand Central Partnership, Downtown Alliance, 34th Street Partnership. It really depends on the head of the bid and the vision laid out BEFORE hand.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    I think the $100-$150 is fair enough. BIDs usually work out very well for the area.
    I guess the residents just feel annoyed to be further taxed after paying $450,000 for a condo. It's understandable. They wouldn't have moved in if they felt the Business District needed substantial improvements, right?

  5. #5
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    I don't really think DUMBO needs a BID. It's evolving fine on its own.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Gulcrapek
    I don't really think DUMBO needs a BID. It's evolving fine on its own.

    I think so too. And at just the right pace. After the Brooklyn Bridge Park is built (granted it's 10 years away) and the Empire Stores are opened (much sooner) it seems to me they'll be plenty of impeteous for improvment.

  7. #7


    A BID would really give this development some legs....

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Agglomeration
    For those of you wondering that the newspaper stands and uniformed street sweepers are doing in the streets of Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn lately, take a look at the BID websites below.

    Just for the record, a Business Improvement District is an alliance of various businesses in a given area united by a common desire to maintain cleanliness, attractiveness, and positive and sustainable development in the commercial district. The BID is responsible for paying people to sweep the streets, maintain newspaper stands, and help keep the buildings and storefronts clean. Some of the more prominent BIDs help run advertising and promotional campaigns for businesses, theaters, restaurants, and even skyscrapers, in order to attract visitors, patrons, and new businesses to the designated area. Annual and monthly fees by the businesses varies; in the Times Square BID it's an annual payment of about 0.2% of the assessed value of each tall building and $1.00 per resident.

    Naturally the larger the number of 50-floor towers in the specific area, the more effective it is in promoting business, keeping the streets clean, and providing a common strategy for the district. Common sense isn't it?

    Here are the three most successful of them, by no accident to the sheer number of towers within their jurisdiction:

    Times Square:

    Lower Manhattan:

    Grand Central Area:

    Here's a more comprehensive list by the Gotham Gazette:

    If anyone has more info on these BID's fell free to let everyone know.

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