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.
Sales of water-front property around the Island of Manhattan, of course, are becoming fewer and fewer, particularly in the lower half of the island, as municipalization proceeds. In the other boroughs municipalization has not taken place to any great extent, and consequently there is a considerable field therein. What is meant by "municipalization" is acquisition by the city of private water-front property rights and the subsequent improvement of property taken, according to the "new plan," an acquisition which may take place either by sale to the city or by condemnation proceedings by the city, under provision of various acts of the Legislature. These proceedings consist, in brief, of a petition which is presented to the court by the city, praying for condemnation of the property for public purposes; appointment by the court of commissioners of estimate and appraisal to pass upon the value of the property to be taken; presentation by the owners of the rights, of proof of their title and of the value of the property (which the city seeks to acquire). This is done through expert witnesses, who testify as to its value, their eligibility to testify as experts being based upon their knowledge of water-front values, which may be acquired, as, for example, from experience derived from actual purchases and leases of water-front property made by the expert. The final step is a report by the commissioners of the value.
Referring to leases, it should be borne in mind that they may be obtained of city property for long periods up to 50 years, and that since the abolition of the old Board of Docks they have to be ratified by the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund before they are binding on the city.