New Penn Station would trigger neighborhood real estate development boom

July 15, 2013 03:30PM

Moving Madison Square Garden and revamping the underlying Penn Station would recast the entire surrounding neighborhood, Crain’s reported, citing a new report from the Municipal Art Society.

Should the current home of the New York Knicks be moved and the area rezoned, the development of 20 million to 30 million square feet of new offices, hotels and apartment buildings would follow, according to the report.

The restoration of Penn Station and the development of surrounding real estate go hand in hand, as available public funds to pay for a new station are limited. The advocacy group has pushed to oust the Garden over the next decade, arguing that more than $1.3 billion in taxes and other payments could be generated from the redevelopment of some 30 sites around Penn Station.

A payments-in-lieu of taxes strategy could funnel that money into bonds that would pay for area infrastructure improvements.

“One of the challenges we know of for the whole Penn project is where this money is coming from, and what does the future of the neighborhood look like,” Raju Mann, Municipal Art Society director of planning, told Crain’s. “This starts to solve both of those issues.”

While Mann said the study, based on a 2007 rezoning proposal from the city that was never snapped up, is real, he stressed that the findings do not constitute a concrete plan of how to develop the area.

The success of such a plan to revamp Penn Station hinges on the outcome of the adjacent Hudson Yards rezoning, where real estate taxes are being developed to pay for the 7 train line’s extension. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland