Even worse, critics have reported, American taxpayers will cough up the usual 22 percent of the bill.
As well, someone is going to benefit from the project: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who wants to transfer the two-thirds of an acre to the UN to help push forward his dream of a major waterfront development.
The new UN tower will encompass some 900,000 square feet and cost upwards of $450 million and perhaps even more. The present 39-story UN Secretariat Building and new structure (which will be no taller, say planners) will connect with with an underground tunnel to facilitate movement between the two buildings, the Heritage Foundations Brett Schaefer reported in early September.
The United Nations, which is renovating its existing Secretariat Building to the tune of $1.9 billion, would plant its new building on a playground named for city kingpin Robert Moses, the urban planner responsible for modern New York.
According to Schaefer, The New York City government supports this project because it would significantly advance Mayor Michael Bloombergs long-term waterfront renovation plan, Vision 2020, by facilitating the construction of a waterfront esplanade along the East River.
Mayor Bloomberg first proposed building a new U.N. office building on the playground site in 2002. The proposal was rejected by the New York State Legislature in 2005, in large part because of objections from local residents who did not want to lose the park.
But Bloomberg didnt give up. He offered to compensate local residents for the loss of the playground with a bike path and a waterfront esplanade along the East River. On December 8, 2010, the Manhattan Community Board 6 approved the plan provided replacement parkland is identified.
This summer, the New York legislature passed a bill to sell, lease or otherwise transfer such land and interests therein to the United Nations development corporation to build the new tower, Schaefer reported.
Under the terms of this legislation, a memorandum of understanding must be completed and signed by the mayor of the City of New York, the temporary president of the Senate, and the speaker of the Assembly providing financial and other details of the project relating to the City of New York.
The parties involved must sign the deal by October 10 or the agreement expires.
The enabling bill does not mandate that the Empire States government inform the U.S. Congress or anyone in Washington about what its elected officials are doing.
Schaefer also reported that American taxpayers will get it right in the wallet par for the course when it comes to funding the anti-American, anti-Christian UN while Bloomberg and the Big Apple reap the financial windfall.
According to Schaefer, Bloombergs waterfront esplanade will cost between $150 million and $200 million. He adds,
New York hopes to pay that construction cost in part by selling or refinancing two buildings, currently leased to the U.N. through the [United Nations Development Corporation], for between $150 million and $300 million. New York is also reportedly seeking at least $75 million from the U.N. in return for permission to build on the playground. According to the New York Post, activists claim that the deal could generate $200 million to $400 million for the city.
The UNDC is also keen on the deal because the current U.N. leases on those properties are believed to be 50 percent below market rates. Even if the two buildings currently leased to the U.N. are sold to pay for the esplanade, the UNDC stands to profit by leasing the new U.N. tower to the U.N. at rates that are higher than rates in the current leases.
Thus, the incentives for New York City from this deal are obvious: Financing materializes for the waterfront project, and local residents get the esplanade and, should their demands be met, new parkland. The UNDC gets to update its below-market U.N. lease agreements, increasing its revenue. The U.N. gets a shiny new tower in a convenient location that it has wanted for years.
None of that helps American taxpayers, however. While the UN and New York pocket the profits, taxpayers foot the bill to build and maintain this tower, along with the taxpayers of member states.
Reported Schaefer, the $350 million to $475 million price tag is very likely to be a substantial underestimate of the final costs, however, if the current renovation of the U.N. building under the Capital Master Plan (CMP) is any indicator. The $2 billion the UN is spending to renovate its old building was only supposed to be $600 million, and and the UN Board of Auditors has stated that the date of completion has slipped and that the project is millions of dollars over budget.
The cost of new leases, construction, operating expenses, and other expenses associated with building a new U.N. tower will likely be paid by member states through their payments to the U.N. regular budget. The U.S. pays 22 percent of that budget and will shoulder 22 percent of the increased expenses resulting from the deal if they are paid through the U.N. regular budget.
That means American taxpayers cough up $95 million of the $475 million cost of construction alone, not to mention other costs, including the extra UN bureaucrats who will inevitably fill the building.
On that note, during 2008 and 2009, Fox News reported in March, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon increased the size of his staff 38 percent, but in any event if the cost of this new building increases, Americans pay 22 percent of the overrun.
Time for Answers
These truths, Shaefer averred, mean the time has come for someone in Washington, such as the Congress responsible for the expenditure of tax dollars, to start asking questions.
Inasmuch as no one in Washington seems to know anything about it, Schaefer recommended that the Obama administration and Congress [r]equest immediately all relevant details, plans, and cost estimates related to the transfer of the Robert Moses Playground to the U.N. and the construction of a new U.N. tower. This information should be provided to Congress, and the Administration should facilitate access to additional details and materials as necessary.
Congress must also tell the government of New York that it expects to see information about the financial implications of the real estate deal, including a detailed analysis of the projects expenses and the anticipated financial implications for the U.S. federal government resulting from the property deal and new U.N. building and related costs through the U.N. budget.
Beyond that, Congress should hold hearings on the matter, Schaefer recommended, to find out why a new tower in necessary, what the costs are and how the UN expects to pay for them. After that, Congress should require the Administration to provide a detailed assessment of the financial implications of the prospective deal for the U.N. regular budget percent over the next 10 years.
Fox News reported yet another possible financial implication of the brand new tower, at least for American taxpayers. The new building could pose ... extensive new security concerns for the U.N. and for New York City.
Only last February, the U.S. government agreed to foot the bill for $100 million in security improvements to the current U.N. headquarters campus, after city officials expressed intense behind-the-scenes frustration at the vulnerabilities of the existing U.N. complex.
Writing in the New York Post, Meghan Clyne, the managing editor of National Affairs, asked why American taxpayers are funding another edifice of anti-American activity.
The United States is going broke, and the United Nations is morally bankrupt, she wrote. So why should US taxpayers pay for UN bureaucrats to get swanky new offices destroying a New York City park in the process?
Residents of the city who use the park or live near it opposed the project, Clyne wrote, but even more important than those practical considerations are those of principle.
The question, she wrote, is why US taxpayers would pay a dime toward this project.
At a time when were hugely in debt, and the United Nations is busy pushing Palestinian statehood and fting Iranian nut-job Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, why should we fork over millions of dollars and a city park to make the United Nations dream of nicer, more convenient offices come true?