Grand Central Terminal landowner hints at suing to undo Midtown East rezoning

October 24, 2013 04:07PM

Midtown Trackage Ventures, the Delaware-based limited liability company that owns the land beneath Grand Central Terminal and the air rights above it, has hinted at a possible lawsuit should the City Council approve the Bloomberg administration’s Midtown East rezoning plan. “Midtown Trackage doesn’t believe that it makes sense to pass a law that’s this vulnerable to legal challenge,” Philip Bowman, an attorney and partner with Boies, Schiller who is representing the firm, told Capital New York. The Bloomberg administration’s plan to have landlords pay $250 per square foot into a fund that would be used to back public improvements in the 73-block Midtown East district has some arguing that the price tag is too low — a point of view with which Midtown Trackage agrees. “The City’s proposal thus would force our client to bear the cost of incentivizing development,” Bowman said in his testimony before a City Council committee this week. “The United States Supreme Court has stated that requiring one citizen to bear the cost of public improvement that in all fairness should be borne by the public at large is the quintessential wrong prohibited by the Takings Clause. We respectfully urge the City Council not to pass this unconstitutional proposal, and to take the time to develop a new proposal that can meet the Council’s public policy goals and pass muster in the courts.” The city’s Department of City Planning had no immediate comment to Capital New York. [Capital New York]Julie Strickland