Streams

A BID for Chinatown?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership Development Corporation, and Jan Lee, third-generation Chinatown property owner and one of the members of the Coalition Against the Chinatown BID, consider whether or not a business improvement district designation is a good idea for Chinatown. Also, Erik Engquist, a reporter who covers New York City politics and government for Crain's New York Business, weighs the pros and cons of BID designations for New York City neighborhoods.

Guests:

Wellington Chen, Erik Engquist and Jan Lee

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Comments [12]

Nancy from Chinatown

If the Chinatown Partnership claims to be so effective about cleaning up the streets and sidewalks in Chinatown, why did neighborhood residents and the Friends of Columbus Park have to work with CB#3 to arrange for extra garbage pickups for Columbus Park so that the rats would not feast all night on food left in garbage bags at the edge of the park? Where was the Chinatown Partnership? Why didn't they do this work?

If the Chinatown Partnership claims to be so effective about cleaning up the streets and sidewalks in Chinatown, why are there huge potholes on the west side of Baxter Street north of Bayard that reek of everything from fecal matter to oil? Where is the Chinatown Partnership? Why haven't they handled this issue?

We are a very well-organized community--the community that fought off the federal government regarding the Terror Trials! Left to our own devices, we would run our own community better than anyone else. Despite having to squander our energy fending off takeovers from without and within, we still have accomplished miracles. Just imagine what we could accomplish if anyone actually listened to us and tried to help us do what we requested!

Dec. 10 2010 03:16 PM
Mitchell

Only 47% of the taxable lots will be paying for this BID. They cannot start a BID with so few taxable lots. In the How to Start a BID manual (NYC.org.) one of the important guidelines in determining if a BID can be supported is that there should be only be a few government and tax exempt owners and few residential lots. In Chinatown we have 2300 taxable lots.
800 (34%) are condos or one owner residential.
500 (21.7%) are tax exempt.
Only 1000 lots are commercial and assessable for the BID.
1000 is only 43% of the total. 57% of the taxable lots are not taxable.
They should never have formed this BID for this reason alone!!!! I think they started with a larger group of taxable lots but were cut back by Little Italy and Soho exiting. And, we just found out that we could each be taxed for this BID up to $5,000.00.

Further in this How to manual, they have budget items for salaries and "fringe benefits". Pensions, health Insurance all those things the majority of small business owners can't afford. Say no to this BID.

Dec. 09 2010 07:02 PM
Lafayette St Resident from SoHo

I live in SoHo. I just was told by a neighbor that this BID is coming to the community board.

Yet our coop was never notified, and we don't live in Chinatown anyway.

Why should our building be included in this racket?
We sweep our own sidewalk. We don't need your help, Mr. Chen, thank you.

Dec. 09 2010 12:51 PM
Chinatown resident

What's with the focus on street cleaning? Come on let's have a little more vision and fearlessness in tackling the tougher nuts that need to be cracked in Chinatown.

The installation of a BID is a controversial issue. We're locking into position a permanent power structure that may or may not represent the best interests of the community.

Why should I pay for more bureaucracy than what I already have? If I wanted "extras" I'll decide what they'll be, rather than pay through the nose for someone to tell me what they think I need.

Sure low sounding fees are a good come on, but wait a few years and with rising costs and the continuing high management fees that this Chinatown BID has already demonstrated, you've got a runaway train that you can't run away from. Once the trojan horse is in place, the BID has the ability to raise taxes to their legal maximum limit of 5% on top of already outlandish city property taxes.

Wake up people and Remove the BID Blinders before it's too late!

Dec. 09 2010 05:27 AM
LifeLong Chinatown from Chinatown

SOHO and Little Italy have opted OUT of the BID because of many of the reasons stated by Jan Lee - this is called self-determination.

Chinatown business owners, who have not had privy to full disclosure of financial records from Wellington's Chinatown Partnership. need to back away from the BID for this reason alone.

Aside from that, while the Chinatown Partnership has been cleaning the streets they have not raised a finger to document or deal with a very real financial blight on Chinatown caused by illegal use of parking permits by government employees in Chinatown taking most of the metered and trucking loading parking spaces on a daily basis. The loss of business and the actual loss of longtime small businesses caused by this parking problem outweighs any effect of sweeping sidewalks. Sure, everyone likes clean streets, but we all have to remember that historic Chinatown's local businesses thrived long before the Chinatown Partnership's street cleaning.

Chinatown will remain a great cultural and historical attraction as long as the threat of gentrification and increasing lifelong taxes (the BID) is kept at bay. The property owners on Mott Street, the main street of historic Chinatown, are choosing to opt OUT of the BID.

Dec. 08 2010 12:30 PM
maggie from man. west side

On my block, which is on the westside in the 40s and 50s, with lots of people and car traffic, the building fronts are usually kept clean. Why? Because we get $100 summons if our sidewalks and street has some trash in it. Usually left by the parked trucks, cars. It is sounding like you have to hire someone in your business to go out and clean up. These businesses have people who already working there, just have one do this a couple of times a day.

Dec. 08 2010 11:50 AM
RJ from Prospect Hts

Sorry for my error--I meant was the businesses *choosing* to serve only their own clienteles.

Dec. 08 2010 11:47 AM
Sam MaK from Chinatown

Educate the people, esp. the merchants. They care mostly more of the jingle in their pockets. The Chinese people (I am Chinese also, to note), because of the environment (overpopulation for the space), are not known to be clean, relative to other ethnic groups. Of course, there are worse, but Chinatown by no means exemplarily clean.

Dec. 08 2010 11:45 AM
RJ from Prospect Hts

What BIDs come down to is businesses not choosing to serve only their own clienteles and not the greater good. Why not lobby the mayor and council to put a sanitation/law enforcement tax on business--a citywide one--that would be used to support *all* business districts, from Jamaica to the Upper East Side to the Staten Island Terminal? Of course not.

Dec. 08 2010 11:40 AM
RJ from Prospect Hts

What BIDs come down to is businesses not choosing to serve only their own clienteles and not the greater good. Why not lobby the mayor and council to put a sanitation/law enforcement tax on business--a citywide one--that would be used to support *all* business districts, from Jamaica to the Upper East Side to the Staten Island Terminal? Of course not.

Dec. 08 2010 11:39 AM
pier consagra from soho

Don't forget that the BID porposal for Soho was voted down by CB2 44-3 because their agenda was so disorganized and their added tax over and above the 35% hike in city taxes was so ambiguous relative to what is a mandate offering only christmas lights and street sweepers negating teh real issues which is peddlers and density and exigent pedestrian situation. Our coop will have to pay out of pocket thousands of dollars a year for something that is unclear and they are imposing this without accountablity no information about how they might increase it exponentially in years to come.

Dec. 08 2010 11:32 AM

can we clean up canal street. it's impossible to walk down that street with all the fake purses etc!

Dec. 08 2010 09:34 AM

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