Two Moynihan Station nuggets

I have clearly fallen very far off of the blogging wagon, but I do continue to try to keep a good chronicle of news relating to the long-delayed Moynihan Station project in New York. The most recent post in that group is here, and all of them can be found here.

Today’s updates are modest, but worth noting…

  1. An August 16 story from NY1 discussing the work performed on the station so far. Concolidation of postal space, a 30% increase in vertical transportation capacity to and from the platforms, the coversion of a loading dock into a taxi stand, etc. The article includes this serious understatement: “But the train hasn’t left the station yet, so to speak. Funding is not set for the more than $1 billion needed for the new transit hall. However, officials are confident real estate money for the private spaces in the new station will fill the hole.” It also includes this two minute video.
  2. Crain’s reports that: “The state and the city have re-entered negotiations with Vornado Realty Trust and The Related Cos. over the sale of 1 million square feet of air rights associated with the new Moynihan Station, says the new president of the Moynihan Station Development Corp., Tim Gilchrist.” The suggestion follows that the commercial construction could begin and finish before the new Moynihan Station is ready for travelers. Funny how much faster the city moves when profits are at stake. Here is the rest of this piece:

The developers entered into a memorandum of understanding with the state in 2006 to develop the Farley Post Office into a new train station and to use the air rights to build an adjacent mixed-use development topped by a 67-story tower.

But the plan, including $110 million from the sale of the air rights, was never approved by the Public Authorities Control Board.

The recession forced the state to split the development into two phases. Eventually, federal stimulus funding provided the final $83 million needed to build the $267 million first phase, which entails linking the Farley building to expanded Penn Station platforms to give passengers another exit.

The initial construction contracts were approved Monday, and now attention is turning to funding the $1 billion second and final phase.

That’s where the sale of air rights comes in. The Farley building—which occupies the square block between 31st and 33rd streets and Eighth and Ninth avenues—comes with 2.5 million square feet of transferable air rights. While Related and Vornado have dibs on the first 1 million, the remaining 1.5 million square feet are up for grabs.

If an air-rights agreement with the two developers is reached, the 1 million-square-foot “Penn West” could begin rising before construction on the station’s first phase is completed in the next three to four years.

“We have a way to move forward, we just have to negotiate the pieces,” Gilchrist says. “I’d love to get money to build [the station].”

Time is ticking: The agreement that gives Related and Vornado exclusive development rights expires in 2012.

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