SL Green Realty, which has pledged more than $200 million to address a cobweb of transit connections around Grand Central Terminal, gave a detailed account of those plans yesterday to the Midtown East task force considering a rezoning that would pave the way for the developer’s proposed One Vanderbilt office tower.
Those improvements include better links for Long Island Rail Road passengers who will arrive at the hub when East Side Access is complete in 2023 and a public transit hall at the base of the 1.6-million square-foot office tower that will feature a train schedule board.
But the lion’s share of the funds will go into overhauling the Lexington Avenue/42nd Street subway station, where the 4,5,6 and 7 lines intersect, and where limited space requires demolition and construction work to be carried out by hand.
Representatives from the developer gave a presentation yesterday to the East Midtown Task Force, one of the groups weighing in on the city’s proposal to rezone the area for greater office density.
As it is now, Grand Central is a tangled mess with indirect routes among transit links – one that will only get more congested when Metro North and Long Island Rail Road passengers have to cross paths.
Instead, SL Green is proposing improvements that would provide passengers with separate and direct routes to the street and subway. Along with upgrades to the crosstown shuttle, an outdoor public plaza and the transit hall at the base of the tower, the developer has set aside about $71 million to improve transit link that circulate under One Vanderbilt’s footprint.
The remaining funds, about two thirds of the total, will go toward improving access and circulation to the Lexington Avenue station.
Plans there call for a better flow between the mezzanine and platform levels, creating connections to the Hyatt Hotel and relocating stairs and various mechanical components. Because space is limited, however, construction and demolition will have to be done by hand, making the subway improvements the costliest part of the proposal.
Community members early last month pushed the developer for a more detailed explanation of how it arrived at the $210 million figure, and after yesterdays meeting the seemed pleased with the comprehensive report.
“There is still much to consider, as we continue to evaluate this proposal, but we are deeply appreciative of the good working relationship SL Green has now worked to establish with the task force and CB5,” Community Board Chair Vikki Barbero said in a statement. “Hopefully this will be a model for other major development projects in the City in the future.”