Yakuza 0 empty lot plot is real life in Manhattan New York City Eliot Spitzer luxury condos condominiums Millennium Tower Upper East Side

The Plot of Yakuza 0 Is Now Real Life as New York Gets Its Own ‘Empty Lot’ Showdown

The Empty Lot is a tiny plot of unused land in the fictional Kamurocho district seen in action-adventure game Yakuza 0. It’s the final piece in the Kamurocho Revitalization Project, promising a fortune to those who get their hands on it first. The problem is no one knows who it belongs to. This kicks off a real estate tussle between the Tojo Clan’s families and Tachibana Real Estate with both parties vying for its ownership. In an interesting turn of events, a similar situation to those of Yakuza 0 and the Empty Lot is unfolding right now in real life in Manhattan.

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As reported by The New York Times, Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, faces a lawsuit from a cooperative board. It claims ownership of a 350-square-foot plot next to his building. A doctrine called adverse possession upholds the board’s side of the case. It grants a party the ability to file a legal claim to a property after 10 years of undisputed use.

The property is legally owned by Mr. Spitzer’s neighboring building (985 Fifth Avenue), but the lawsuit has thrown a wrench into his expansion plans. His response to The New York Times was nothing short of scathing. “It’s like you let your neighbor park his car in your driveway for two weeks and they say, oh, by the way, I own your house.” A lawyer on the side of the board told NYT that “I don’t believe there’s ever been an adverse possession case filed with these stakes, by people of this stature.”

Regardless of the outcome, legal procedures mean that the land will be contested for a while. Needless to say, Mr. Spitzer won’t be able to expand his condo portfolio across Manhattan’s version of the Empty Lot. The lawsuit comes at a critical time, right when Spitzer Enterprises planned to tear down 985 Fifth Avenue to replace it with a luxury condo tower. I hope my neighbors don’t get any funny ideas.

Yakuza 0 empty lot plot is real life in Manhattan New York City Eliot Spitzer luxury condos condominiums Millennium Tower Upper East Side

While there aren’t any crime syndicates like Yakuza 0’s Dojima Family and Shimano Family involved this time around, The New York Times managed to uncover an interesting connection between the two parties contesting for Manhattan’s Empty Lot. New York State Department of State records name Stephen Treadway as the chief executive of the entity that controls the board. As a result of an investigation in 2003 by Mr. Spitzer as then-attorney general, Mr. Treadway had been forced to settle a mutual fund trading scandal case with a $572,000 fine. The story that’s unraveling around this legal standoff is just as dense as a New York cheesecake. As of the article’s writing, Mr. Treadway has yet to comment on the Empty Lot situation.

Keen-eyed fans have already spotted the similarities between Mr. Spitzer’s lawsuit in New York and the struggle for ownership of the Empty Lot in Yakuza 0. While it’s certainly a matter of concern for the people involved in the lawsuit, Twitter seems to be having a field day over it, with GIFs and witty comments under the NYT article. If it’s any consolation, a portion of Yakuza’s fictional Millenium Tower is eventually built over the Empty Lot. Some users even suggested renaming Spitzer’s condo to Kamurocho’s infamous Millennium Tower.

It’ll take a while for the victor to emerge, but I’m glad I got to write this. It isn’t every day that real estate lawsuits intersect with video games.


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Antony Terence
Once an engineer responsible for steel plant equipment, Antony now writes on everything from games and consumer tech to fiction. From watching his dad set up a PC to actively following gaming right from school, it’s no surprise that Antony wanted to write about games. He’s had three fulfilling years as a freelance journalist to preach about humanity’s greatest artform: videogames. Antony has worked on everything from news and deep dives to opinions, reviews and retrospectives for IGN, Techradar, Rock Paper Shotgun, GamesIndustrybiz, and more. He’s drawn to stories, meaning that anime, fantasy novels and games across genres count among his pastimes. While Antony is particularly fond of citybuilders and strategy titles, he won’t turn down a chance to play a JRPG or a turn-based roguelike. As long as it has a story, it’s fair game. When he isn't rediscovering his love for retro strategy titles, you'll find Antony at tech stores or board game cafes.