by Robert Kimmel –
Recent negotiations with Citibank have resolved Tarrytown’s quest to purchase, for metered public use, approximately half of the parking lot space adjacent to the bank’s long-vacant building at 1 South Broadway. Last December, a leasing arrangement with Citibank had reopened part of the lot for village parking, almost three years after the bank branch’s closure.
A just concluded agreement has Citibank selling part of the parking lot, which includes 21 metered spaces, to the village. Public metered parking in the lot had taken place since 1999 with leases the village had negotiated with Citibank and its predecessors.
Following Citibank’s closing its Tarrytown location in 2016, the village went to court, claiming it could purchase the then-vacant parking spaces through eminent domain, the legal process which allows a government entity to buy land for public use under certain conditions. Citibank’s challenge, opposing the acquisition by eminent domain, was rejected by the Appellate Division of New York’s Supreme Court in 2017. The Court ruled that it saw no reason why the village could not move ahead to “acquire a portion of the owner’s property for public parking.”
Following that judicial ruling, Village Administrator Richard Slingerland had stated, “We have informed Citibank that we are going to proceed with eminent domain.” He indicated that “Village attorneys had filed back, and we are waiting to see what happens.”
Citibank’s position had been that it would sell the entire property, building and lot, to Tarrytown, but not just a portion of the lot. It contended that the loss of parking spaces lowers the value of the total property. What part the judicial ruling played in the latest successful negotiations is not fully disclosed; however, it undoubtably motivated the continued discussions.
“The Board of Trustees and business groups have agreed that the lot is definitely a major contributor to the parking stock that helps out downtown,” Slingerland said late last month. The need for more parking spaces had been asserted in 2016 by merchant groups, village police and members of the public during hearings before trustees. Past studies by traffic engineers had also confirmed the need for more business district parking.
During last December’s holiday period, when the lot was opened temporarily for free parking prior to meter installation, it was packed. However, when meters were reinstalled, and parking fees began, many drivers appeared to seek free parking elsewhere, Slingerland related.
As of this report, the purchase price the village is paying Citibank for the metered spaces in the lot had not yet been revealed. Public disclosure awaited the final signing of the new sales agreement. Citibank has reportedly discussed its building’s sale with several businesses, but not with success. Prior to the bank’s departure in 2016, and the lot’s closing, Tarrytown was paying Citibank $10 a month for each of the metered spaces. Overall, Tarrytown brings in $1,043,491 annually from all of its metered and charged parking, including that at the train station, according to Village Treasurer James Hart.