Got $1 billion? This could all be yours. (Image from the Department of City Planning)
Remember the Hudson Yards redevelopment plans? Once upon a time, this midtown area of the Far West Side was the centerpiece of Mayor Bloomberg’s plans for residential and commercial growth in Manhattan. Those were the days.
Now, the site barely registers on the Department of City Planning’s Website. With the ill-fated plans for the Jets Stadium long gone, the city has, thankfully, moved on to better and more useful projects. But the MTA, owners of highly valued land around the Hudson Yards site on the Far West Side, isn’t quite done yet.
In fact, with the 7 line extension plans in the works, the city and the MTA are going to work together to sell some of this valuable land, and the asking price could be as high as $1.3 billion. According to a Reuters story, the Authority will begin to find developers for the 26-acre rail yard. As one of the largest — if not the biggest — tract of empty land in Manhattan, the MTA expects to receive a windfall sum for this land.
The estimated $1.3 billion the MTA could fetch for this area will help fund the Second Ave. subway project, the 7 line extension and other various Capital Construction projects. “It’s certainly in the best interests of the city and state that we’re able to maximize our revenues,” an MTA spokesman said.
In a few weeks, the MTA plans to hold public hearings on how the land should be used and will then issue design guidelines for developers. These hearings will focus on questions surrounding the availability of affordable housing and the mix of residential and commercial buildings. Notably, the MTA will hold onto the rail yards, and the developers will have to build a platform — for as much as $400 million — over the train storage and maintenance facility.
These new plans are a marked departure from the 2005 shenanigans. At the time, the City, under Bloomberg, attempted to secure the land for a new Jets Stadium and an expanded Convention Center area. They offered the lowball sum of $300 million, and public forces mobilized to stop what would have been a damaging sale at the time. With the land appraised at a value of nearly $1 billion more than the City’s offer two years, the MTA looks to capitalize on what could have been a very costly mistake.
On another note, the Friends of the High Line have to feel a little bit better about the fate of the norther section of the former freight line. “I think we would like to see it remain if that can happen without having a major impact on the revenue that the MTA gets from the site,” the MTA spokesman said. Good stuff.