NYU, NYC, MTA reach deal for 370 Jay StreetBy
The MTA’s headquarters at 370 Jay Street will be a blight no more upon Downtown Brooklyn. After a decade of wrangling, political proclamations and unfunded plans to renovate the building, the MTA has agreed to surrender its lease on the building to the city, and in return, the city will provide NYU with the opportunity to turn the building into an applied sciences center in the heart of a rapidly growing neighborhood.
“Over the next five years, 370 Jay Street will be transformed into a cutting-edge center for research and science that will give another huge boost to our city’s economy,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday. “Our Administration has long seen the promise of Downtown Brooklyn, and we’ve made the investments needed to transform it into a thriving center for business. With the addition of this new campus, Brooklyn will be one of the most dynamic environments for entrepreneurs anywhere in the country.”
According to the Mayor’s Office, NYU will pay the MTA $50 million relocation expenses. The NYPD, another tenant, will receive $10 million. The university will then pay $1 per year in rent while receiving a series of tax breaks as well. That’s quite the deal for the city.
For the MTA, though, this announcements ends a long-term stalemate over 370 Jay St. The authority had been renting the building from the city, also for $1 a year, but the MTA estimated that renovations on the property would have cost a few hundred million dollars. They didn’t have the money to conduct such work, and even as the Jay St. subway station underneath the building underwent a comprehensive rehab, the building aboveground sat wrapped in a permanent scaffolding. Politicians hated it, and the building seemingly arose as a symbol of MTA inefficiency.
When NYU first announced its plans to open a science center in Brooklyn, the university originally offered the MTA $20 million to vacate its premises. The authority, no longer willing to roll over and die as it did with the Atlantic Yards air rights, dug in and asked for $50 million. With prodding from the Mayor, NYU gave in, and the MTA will begin to move out later this year. “For many years, 370 Jay Street served as the headquarters of the NYC Transit Authority,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. “Everyone at the MTA is proud that the building will be repurposed as New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress – a new business and science incubator in downtown Brooklyn.”
Of course, there’s a bit of a wrinkle. The NYU has six months to conduct due diligence on 370 Jay St. It will assess how much the renovations to the building will cost and whether or not they can be completed in time for usage in September 2017. If the due diligence finds that the building work will cost more, they can back out of this deal, and we’ll be back at square one. Considering how badly NYU wants this space, though, something would have go to horribly wrong for this deal to fall through. With the MTA though, anything is possible.