By Joe Anuta
In a city auction nine years ago, a man put up hundreds of thousands of dollars for what he thought was waterfront property, but it turned out to be a parcel of land in the middle of a College Point boat yard and now the Department of Citywide Administrative Services is attempting to pawn off the parcel once again.
At the time, the 3,850-square-foot, irregularly shaped lot was completely surrounded by a gravel area that the College Point Yacht Club used to store boats, much to the bidder’s surprise.
“When the gentleman won the bid, he put down a deposit,” said Kim Cody, a member of the yacht club, at 304 126th St., and president of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association. “When he came to look at the property, he was a little bit confused. We actually marked it off with yellow tape to show where it was.”
The man, identified as James Kim, had put down a 10 percent deposit on his roughly $246,000 bid at a city-sponsored auction July 23, 2003. Additional information about Kim was not available by press time.
When putting the property up for sale, the city probably had used out-of-date surveys that did not accurately reflect the coastline of College Point, according to Artie McCrossen, the vice commodore at the club. Starting in the 1900s, filling material was added in various places throughout the neighborhood to extend the peninsula farther into Long Island Sound.
It was not clear whether Kim got his deposit back from the city, but the parcel returned to the hands of the department and was set to be auctioned once again May 10 — that is, if the club cannot strike a deal first.
“We’re trying to get that piece pulled from the city auction,” McCrossen said.
The club wants to trade other property it owns for the parcel, especially since the circumstances of the lot have changed since 2003.
In a brochure the city is distributing, a map of the lot shows it is bordered on one side by a road — a road that does not yet exist.
The city wants to extend Powell’s Cove Boulevard right through the yacht club’s borders on land the club rents from the department. The road would pass right by the property.
McCrossen said the club owns land on the other side of the proposed road that it wants to give to the city in exchange for the irregularly shaped lot. A trade would streamline its property without sticking the club with a useless triangle-shaped strip of grass across from the proposed thoroughfare.
The club turned to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who sent a letter requesting the department look into the deal, but it has not received a response.
Otherwise, the lot, which is zoned for manufacturing use, will hit the auction block at what McCrossen called the absurd minimum bid of $114,000.
The department seems to be repeating some of the same procedures that led to the last misrepresentation of the property.
A picture in the brochure is a photo of the club. In it, McCrossen said there is a blue truck the club sold about nine years ago, showing that the city is again using outdated information to pitch the oddly shaped property.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.