This Would Never Happen Today

I love this little story of one of the richest men in the world being unable to complete a real estate parcel he wanted.  Why?  Because this would never happen today.  The owners and tenants of the small properties Rockefeller wanted to acquire actually had strong property rights in the 1930's.  Today, a rich real estate developer would just go to the city and have their property declared blighted, seized by eminent domain, and handed to them on a platter.


  1. iceberg:

    Yep, that is precisely what Douglas Durst of the Durst Organzaztion ( did; IIRC he had the city condemn 6 properties for him, transferred them to him for a song so that he can build the Bank of America tower at 1 Bryant Park (

    IIRC, one of the former property owners had an offer of at least $16m for his building but didn't want to sell. After the city used eminent domain, they gave him $2m for the property. (Apparently they can make you an offer that you can't refuse, and only then you have to take the city to court to try to obtain the market value).

  2. Orion Henderson:

    See Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, NY. One of the most egregious examples.

  3. MingoV:

    It's noteworthy that Rockefeller didn't try to bribe anyone to get what he wanted, and he didn't hire thugs to scare off the owners. Yet he gets lumped in with the "robber barons."

  4. obloodyhell:

    No doubt this might well be where they got the idea for the macguffin behind You Can’t Take It With You.

  5. John:

    We have become too civilized, not enough sumbitches are getting shot.

  6. nehemiah:

    The property belongs to the collective don't you know. Why even our children aren't ours anymore. They belong to the community. After all it takes a village.