Aqueduct auction plan causes mixed reactions

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The New York Racing Association is set to auction off more than 325,000 square feet of land it owns adjacent to Aqueduct Race Track and residents plan to stay on regardless of who buys the properties at Wednesday’s sale.

“We’re all concerned about it,” said 97th Street resident Joe Finger, who lives adjacent to one of the 64 lots up for sale. “It depends on who they sell it to.”

The auction is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Aqueduct Race Track at 110−00 Rockaway Blvd. To start off, NYRA will try to sell the 64 pieces of property as a package. If there are no bidders, they will be auctioned off in 22 parcels and if there are still no bidders each piece will be sold individually.

NYRA and the state were involved in a long dispute over who owned the property, which was resolved last year under a franchise agreement that renewed the nonprofit’s control over Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course for another 25 years.

The agreement settled the dispute and authorized NYRA to auction off the property, according to NYRA Chief Administrative Officer John Ryan.

It is unclear who is interested in the property. A seminar for potential bidders and brokers was scheduled to be held this week at Aqueduct.

A $7,500 deposit per lot is required to register to bid on the properties and a $350,000 deposit to bid on the 64 lots as a package, according to Plainview, L.I.−based David R. Maltz & Co., the firm running the auction.

Centerville Street resident Joe Rini, who lives across the street from one of the lots up for auction, said it did not matter to him who buys the property.

“I don’t really care,” he said, noting that he thought there would be only minor issues arising from the sale.

“It might be a little congested around here, but that’s about it,” Rini said.

Joe Finger said the vacant properties have not caused any problems for the neighborhood.

“Nobody’s dumping nothing here,” he said. “It’s very clean. Never had a problem with garbage.”

He said while he is concerned about who buys the properties, he plans to still live in the home he has rented for 12 years.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” Finger said. “Nobody’s going to make me move.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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