In exchange for the approval to build One Vanderbilt, a 63-story office tower adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, the developer will give the MTA $220 million for upgrades to entrances of the Metro-North Railroad and the terminal's subway entrances.
The City Council gave its approval for the plan on May 27, overcoming what was considered the biggest obstacle to the tower and the transit improvements.
"Plans for the skyscraper have been at the center of long-running negotiations to improve the bustling subway station at Grand Central [second busiest after Times Square], particularly on the overcrowded 4, 5 and 6 trains on the Lexington Avenue subway line," writes Emma G. Fitzsimmons for The New York Times. "Mayor Bill de Blasio has supported the rezoning plan."
The approach has been viewed by some proponents as a model for how the Metropolitan Transportation Authority can pay for some projects as it grapples with a $14 billion shortfall in the agency’s $32 billion proposed capital plan.
The location at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue is adjacent to the landmark terminal. The tower is opposed by Andrew S. Penson, "(t)he investor who owns Grand Central, " writes Fitzsimmons. "He has argued that the agreement would be a 'massive giveaway' to a big real estate company."
The 1,501-foot-tall, 1.6 million-square-foot skyscraper building will be the city's third tallest, dwarfing the nearby 1,046 feet-tall, 71-story Chrysler Building. "The tower and the infrastructure upgrades are expected to be finished by 2021, the company said," notes Fitzsimmons.
"SL Green will also pay for direct connections beneath the tower to the subway, the Metro-North Railroad and eventually the Long Island Rail Road, which will stop in Grand Central after the authority’s East Side Access Project is complete," adds Fitzsimmons.
Transit advocates have also applauded the Grand Central deal, saying it served as a test case for incentive plans in which developers pay for transit improvements in exchange for permission to build.
Similar arrangements have been done at Boston's Back Bay Station and at Atlanta's MARTA stations, though they were for air rights and perhaps not on the same scale as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has worked out for the 63-story office tower known as One Vanderbilt.
The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project
The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.
Converting Golf Courses to Housing Never as Easy as the Market Would Like
Thousands of golf courses have closed in recent years, but the obvious redevelopment opportunity represented by many defunct courses isn’t always easy to realize.
Houston To End Bike Share Program
Lacking the funding it needs to continue, Houston’s BCycle bike share system will end operations in the coming months.
FTA Announces Tribal Transit Program Grants
The agency awarded close to $10 million to 22 communities around the country for transit improvements.
Making Colorado’s Front Range Rail a Reality
Local leaders are scrambling to bring together the funding and political support to create new intercity rail service in the fast-growing region.
How College Campuses Fulfill an Urbanist Dream
Most college campuses in the United States are inherently walkable, mixing various uses with diverse housing options and transit networks.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.