Grand Central Terminal Owner Files $1.1 Billion Suit Against One Vanderbilt

A $1.1 billion lawsuit challenges the approval of plans for One Vanderbilt, adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, on the grounds that it circumvented the purchase of air rights from the adjacent Grand Central Terminal.
October 1, 2015, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The air rights bonanza surrounding Grand Central Terminal took a litigious turn this week, when the owner of the terminal, Andrew S. Penson, "filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit in United States District Court in Manhattan that argued that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio… the City Council and the developer, SL Green Realty Corporation, had deprived him of his property rights when the city gave SL Green permission to build a 1,501-foot tall office tower, without having to buy any air rights from him."

According to the argument of the lawsuit, "by granting SL Green the rights to build a tower 'for free' that is twice as big as had been permitted by zoning, the de Blasio administration and City Council had rendered Grand Central’s air rights 'worthless.'"

SL Green counters that the approval of the project required $220 million in improvements to Grand Central Terminal. The article includes more on the details of the Grand Central Terminal property, which is under a long-term lease with MTA. The so-called Vanderbilt Corridor, of which One Vanderbilt is one component, made news earlier this year when the New York City Department of City Planning proposed a doubling of the allowed floor-to-area ratio on the five-block area.

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Published on Monday, September 28, 2015 in The New York Times
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