The Village Voice is reporting that Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion received $30,000 in campaign contributions from a firm that scored a $5 million air rights agreement for a pedestrian bridge to the new Yankee Stadium.
Last summer the city agreed to pay $5 million to construct part of a pedestrian walkway to the new stadium over a piece of property on East 153rd Street, according to the Voice. That land is owned by the Glaser family, which operates G.A.L. Manufacturing, a successful elevator equipment company. Though the Glasers had previously never contributed money to local candidates, they gave the Carrion campaign a total of $30,000 around the time the air rights contract was signed.
The Glasers didn't return the Voice's phone calls. A
spokesman for Carrion referred questions to his campaign office, which
said, "The borough president has many first-time contributors, as
people throughout the city have taken notice of his proven track record
The pedestrian bridge is a small but key piece of the massive
stadium project because it connects the new Metro North station to the
stadium property. An existing pedestrian bridge is considered too
narrow and out of compliance with federal disability laws.
Under the deal signed last spring, the city agreed to pay $5
million to the Glasers for the air rights over their property to allow
for widening and improving the concrete pedestrian bridge leading to
the foot of Yankee Stadium. The air-rights deal will cost taxpayers
almost as much as the $6.5 million that the city plans to spend
actually renovating the bridge.
City officials say that the $5 million bought three things:
access to the property for two years, the right to put the bridge over
the property, and a piece of land on which to set a column that will
support the bridge.
As Streetsblog readers know, mayoral hopeful Carrion has been an outspoken supporter of the new Yankee Stadium and its publicly-subsidized parking decks, despite community opposition to the extra year-round traffic the project promises to bring to the polluted South Bronx. After the contentious parking deal cleared its last hurdle, Carrion bragged that the stadium would set off a chain reaction of development in the area.
How much his constituents will benefit, or suffer, from that development remains to be seen. But Carrion's mayoral campaign is making out quite nicely. In addition to the $30K from the Glasers, the Voice reports that his campaign has accepted over $34,000 from Related Companies, which is building the controversial Gateway Mall complex near the stadium -- a project criticized for, among other things, its auto-oriented design.
As it happens, according to the Voice, "At the same time that G.A.L. negotiated the $5 million air-rights deal,
Related got $1.2 million from Metro North for an easement over a small
sliver of its property to allow for the widening of rail tracks."