N.Y.C. and MTA Reach Hudson Yards Deal
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City officials agreed this fall on a development plan for the Hudson Yards district on the far west side of Manhattan, the site of a failed attempt to build a $2.2 billion stadium for the New York Jets. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had championed the stadium plan before state officials killed it last year by denying it necessary permitting approvals.
The agreement is eventually expected to reap $1.5 billion in sale and lease revenues for the transportation authority, according to its press office. The agency’s current $21.2 billion 2005-09 capital program now relies on debt financing for 44 percent of its total, though more than half of the debt service is tied to dedicated state tax revenue streams. Other local, state, and federal funds make up the balance.
The main Hudson Yards site, which stretches from 30th to 33rd streets between 10th and 12th avenues and is split in half by the 11th Avenue viaduct, contains rail yards for trains entering and leaving Pennsylvania Station. The plan anticipates building platforms over the yards that would support high-rise commercial and residential buildings. Areas to the north of the yards are also envisioned for new development.
The agreement calls for the city and MTA to select a developer to oversee the rebuilding program next year. Under the agreement, the MTA will receive all sale or lease revenue from future development over the yards, which it owns. All payments in lieu of property taxes generated by the developments would go to the city.
The agreement also establishes that the city will control planning and design guidelines for the developments. This winter, the city-chartered Hudson Yards Development Corporation will work with community groups, the MTA, and the public to draft guidelines by early next year.
The next steps are expected to take place early in 2007. Following the development corporation’s public comment period, the MTA will use the draft guidelines to issue a request-for-proposals for a developer to oversee the redevelopment of the yards. A committee of MTA and city representatives is expected to select a winning proposal next summer.
Among the major points in the Hudson Yards agreement is the establishment of a funding mechanism for the city to pay for the $2 billion, 1.5-mi. extension of the 7 subway line from Times Square to a new terminus at 34th Street and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The MTA will be building the subway extension, and the agency’s leaders told attendees at a fall industry briefing that it expects to issue an RFP before the end of 2006 for a $900 million to $1 billion contract to build tunnels, caverns, and station structures.
The agreement also establishes that the city will spend $200 million for a 50 percent interest in transferable development rights from the eastern half of the rail yards, or approximately 4.5 million sq. ft. The city and MTA expect to sell those rights to developers for projects on eight blocks north of the yards, across from the Javits center.
The entire rail yards site is now also governed by the city’s ULURP land use review process. Initially, the mayor’s office had exempted the western half because it was to house the stadium, but in October, the mayor and City Council agreed to roll that parcel under ULURP.
The entire district also falls under the city’s 2005 rezoning of Hudson Yards, which reserves 28 percent of 14,000 planned residential units for affordable housing and which concentrates commercial development along 11th Avenue.
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