Influential think tank Regional Plan Association and its incoming chair Scott Rechler are publicly arguing over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plans to redevelop Penn Station.
In a statement issued Monday, the RPA argued that Cuomo’s plans to turn the old Farley Building post office at Eighth Avenue and West 33rd Street into a train station with retail “won’t go far enough.”
Rechler , who heads development firm RXR Realty and is set to become RPA’s new chair in the coming months, took issue with that statement. “You can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, particularly when you can’t control all the stakeholders involved and you need to make progress,” he told Politico. “There is no doubt that the announcement on Moynihan and Penn Station is a big step forward for a long-stalled project that the region desperately needs.”
Rechler is an outgoing board member of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he was appointed by none other than Cuomo.
Last week, Cuomo announced that the Related Companies, Vornado Realty Trust and Skanska won the bid for the redevelopment of the post office, which will feature 700,000 square feet of office and retail space, as well as train halls for both Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road. Cuomo’s announcement did come with one major surprise — the design-build team will not be doing a redesign of Penn Station, which will be handled in a separate request for proposals.
In its statement jointly issued with the Municipal Arts Society, the RPA argued that any real solution to Penn Station’s problems would require relocating Madison Square Garden. It also urged the construction of a new rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River. [Politico] — Konrad Putzier