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UNITED STATES v. 3.71 ACRES

May 17, 1943

UNITED STATES
v.
3.71 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, IN BOROUGH OF QUEENS, LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y., et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAMPBELL

CAMPBELL, District Judge.

This case comes before this court at this time solely for the purpose of the determination of the award to be made for the fee simple of lands, and the improvements thereon to which the petitioner-plaintiff acquired title under a declaration of taking filed April 10, 1942, pursuant to Title 40, Section 258a, U.S.C.A.

The property so acquired was well located with reference to highways, being on the Vernon Boulevard, the main highway leading from Astoria to Newtown Creek, near the non-toll Queensboro Bridge, within easy trucking distance of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, the Triboro Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and the Meeker Avenue and Greenpoint Bridges, leading into all parts of Brooklyn.

 It is near Queens Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and Grand Central Parkway, and but a comparatively short distance from the Long Island Railroad, which has connections all over the United States.

 It also had water transportation facilities, but that was limited to boats of comparatively light draught.

 It consisted of a tract of land, having an area of approximately 164,200 square feet, extending from the westerly side of Vernon Boulevard, to the East River, at the foot of 40th Street, being 260.22 feet in width on Vernon Boulevard; 259.35 feet in width on the East River, and 631.74 feet in depth from Vernon Boulevard to the East River on the northerly side of the subject property, and 615.78 feet on the southerly side of said property, on which there was located a one-story frame and composition factory building with a bulkhead along the river front, and a three-story brick and limestone office building.

 The buildings were constructed in 1906-1907 and were specially designed to meet the requirements of use in the marble industry, which at that time was a flourishing industry along the water front in that neighborhood, and there were also a number of other marble establishments in the vicinity. With the lapse of time many of the marble industries in that neighborhood had gone out of business, or were in the process of liquidation at the time of the taking by petitioner-plaintiff, and most of those properties were on the market for sale.

 In fact, the subject property had, within a few months prior to its taking by the petitioner-plaintiff, been leased for the term of ten years, at a minimum annual rental of $27,000, the possible rent over that figure being more or less speculative.

 The channel of the East River, east of Blackwell's Island, on which the subject property is located, is known as the East Channel, and at that point is generally suitable only for water transportation by barges, scows, lighters, and tugs, and not by deep draught vessels, such as large steamships, due to the shallow depth of water, at mean low water.

 The depth of water at the bulkhead line of the subject property at mean low water is 8 to 11.5 feet, and generally for 160 feet out west of the bulkhead it is from 12 to 15 feet.

 On behalf of the defendant, its real estate expert Mr. Morrissey testified that the 164,200 square feet of land, including the bulkhead, was of the value of $1.25 a square foot, that is, $205,250; and its real estate expert Mr. Hosinger testified that it was of the value, including the bulkhead, of $1.30 a square foot, which he made $213,500.

 An analysis of all of the sales of property, the details of which were given on the trial, and which need not be separately described here, do not justify any such value, but the same is based solely on the opinion of such witnesses, as opposed to what is shown by the actual sales, which to me have greater weight.

 Mr. Potter, a real estate expert, called on behalf of the petitioner-plaintiff, testified to a value of 75 cents a square foot for the land, including the bulkhead, which he made a total of $125,000; and Mr. Schlichta, another real estate expert, called on behalf of the petitioner-plaintiff, likewise testified to a value of 75 cents a square foot, for the land, including the bulkhead, but made the total $123,000.

 It seems to me that a somewhat higher valuation for the land, including the bulkhead, than that placed upon it by the petitioner-plaintiff's expert witnesses, but much lower than the value placed upon it by defendant's expert witnesses represents the real value of the land, including the bulkhead, at the time of taking, ...


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