What a difference a year makes - and a few months, for that matter. Remember when the New York Jets were offering $100 million for the West Side Railyards to build a Jets Stadium? And remember when the MTA, when forced by public pressure, demanded $300 million? And then in July, Mayor Bloomberg offered $300 million for the West Side Rail Yard and $200 million for the East Side railyard - a total of $500 million? Well, now the NY Times reports the most recent appraised value of the land is $1.5 billion. MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow, who had been agreeable to the city's half-billion dollar advances because it would enable the 7 line expansion to get started in earnest, said, "Clearly, this is a new wrinkle in the deal." Yeah, a wrinkle the size of the Grand Canyon, we'd say! From the NY Times:

According to officials who have been briefed on the appraisal by Jerome Haims Realty, it sets the value of the development rights for the railyard on the west side of 11th Avenue at more than $1.2 billion, based on the ability to develop a large residential and commercial complex.

A smaller block of development rights on the east side of 11th Avenue is worth about $300 million, the officials said.

Even if the authority subtracted the estimated $400 million cost of building a platform over the western railyard, the appraised value would still be more than twice the city’s offer.

“We continue to negotiate with the M.T.A.,” said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “We think our offer is fair. We’re not looking to make a profit here.”

You know, we could understand the Bloomberg administration for trying to make the best deal possible, because it would spur more job development, the city would be putting money into other development in the area, etc. etc., so maybe have an offer that was, oh, 20-30% lower than an estimated value might be understandable. But the MTA, which is crippled by crappy financial accounting and huge deficits, deserves whatever money it can get. We don't see how the MTA would be able to justify fare hikes when it takes lowball offers from the city.