On a tour this week, the president of the Friends of the Roosevelt Island Steam Plant pointed out a funny plot of land across the East River on Long Island City. At a quick glance, it might look like just a part of a electrical plant but it’s actually a training center for Con Ed, known as The Learning Center. It has electrical poles that are shorter than normal, John mentioned, and are clustered together. An even bigger question than it’s function is how such valuable land still remains undeveloped?
Former Queens City Councilman Eric Gioia had been railing against Con Ed for this site since 2008. According to The Daily News, he said “Con Ed should start by selling off some of the most expensive land in the city, saving its company property taxes, and not continuing to balance its budget on the backs of hardworking New Yorkers.” This came in the face of repeated rate increases that year. Gioia claimed that the property was worth $500 million at the time.