In a city where nature can be hard to come by, community gardens are pretty valuable assets. Just one little corner of greenness and life can brighten an entire block. Not that most developers cares about that. Apparently, one such developer is seeking $1 million from volunteers running a community garden in Crown Heights for a property he got on the cheap.
Steve Billing, a developer with TYC Realty, has been haggling with the volunteers at the Roger That Garden in Crown Heights for nearly a year, requesting that they buy the plot of land they work on from him for increasingly exorbitant amounts of money, according to the Post,
Billing reportedly purchased the property at the corner of Roger Avenue and Park Place in November 2013 for $10—TEN DOLLARS—from the daughter of the property’s elderly owner. Long before the purchase, nearby residents had demolished a long-shuttered hardware store on the property with the city’s permission and created the community garden back in 2006. In that time, they never managed to purchase the deed to the land and Billing beat them to it.
Initially, the garden volunteers offered Billing $15,000 they’d attained through fundraising, but Billing requested $50,000 in exchange for the 1,710-square-foot property. Now, the price of the land has been pushed to $1 million. And unless the garden can come up with the funds—and Billings softens—they will have to vacate the property by September.
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