Supposedly, the second time is the charm. Today, the MTA is going to find out if they procure that second time charm with the Hudson Yards area as they are set to issue a request for development proposals for the valuable land on the Far West Side.
The Authority wants $1 billion, and they should get it. But after months of speculation, the northern end of the High Line probably won’t survive the construction and development, according to a report in Crain’s Business Journal. Julie Satow at Crain’s has more:
Restoring the northern portion of the High Line, the elevated railway that runs along the rail yards on Manhattan’s West Side, will cost $117 million, according to a new report that is likely to embolden developers seeking to tear down the railway…
The cost of the High Line is crucial because it will lower the price developers are willing to bid for the right to develop the site and thus drive down the MTA’s proceeds…
The High Line will prevent the development of 13,000 square feet of retail space, resulting in $20 million of lost revenue, according to the report. It will also compromise retail space, storage and parking spots and cost a developer $26 million in lower rents. The cost of tearing down the High Line and replacing it with a raised park would be $38 million.
The MTA has said that it supports the presence of the High Line, but only if it does not drive down bids for the site by more than $25 million. Advocacy group Friends of the High Line has previously argued that the cost of maintaining the structure is under $1 million.
As construction crews work day in and day out on the southern part of this eventual park in the sky, the days are numbered for the northern part. As much as I am looking forward to the High Line Park’s unveiling, the economics make me believe that tearing down the northern part is for the best.
As I walked along 10th Ave. on Friday afternoon after work, my mind wandered to the future. I crossed the Hudson Yards area and tried to envision the development that will soon arrive. I envisioned the extended 7 line feeding Manhattan’s last frontier. While Lincoln Tunnel traffic — hopefully alleviated by the congestion fee — may turn many off from this neighborhood, it needs development. The area from Chelsea to the mid-40s is a dead zone.
If the cost of turning an empty pocket of Manhattan into a livable and usable area of the city is the dismantling of part of the High Line, then I shall simply bid this relic of another era good bye and appreciate the new park even more.