This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
Hon. Herman A. Metz, Comptroller of the City of New York, on January 31, 1908, sent a communication to the Hon. Charles E. Hughes, Governor of the State of New York, setting forth the unjustifiable squandering of enormous amounts of money through condemnation proceedings, and quoted many instances. In 1907 Commissioners made awards of $6,598,672.20 for property for public uses other than street openings and $6,934,-063.34 for street openings. The total was $13,532,736.14. The Comptroller purchased at private sale property to an amount of $6,353,099.78 as authorized by a resolution of the Board of Estimate, and this, added to the amount paid through condemnation proceedings, makes a grand total of $19,885,835.93, and this is about the yearly average paid for property taken for public improvements. The City has at the present time under contemplation or discussion over $100,000,000 worth of real estate, and this does not include the Catskill watershed and aqueduct. In the case of the extension of Riverside Drive between 158th and 165th Streets, the Commissioners made an award of $1,000,000, but afterward reduced it to $600,000.
In the matter of the approach on the Brooklyn side of Bridge No. 3, the award of $1,000,000 was reduced 10%, as the City had paid 6% for two years after the title had vested in the City. In the case of the extension of High Bridge Park the Commissioners made a partial report resolving an award of $820,000, with only two parcels in one plot under discussion. Three years have been consumed and interest charged at 6% per annum and special counsel employed at a salary of $5,000 per annum. This does not include the Commissioners' fees, which will probably be $4,000 each.
Before closing this matter I would like to mention a commission appointed twelve years ago to take testimony regarding property at Purdy's Station, part of which has been used for years for the Cornell Dam. The report has just been made, and the award is $70,000 to owners, the interest is $50,400, and the expenses will be at least $40,000 more, making expense $90,400 to condemn property worth $70,000.