The Real Deal New York

Next stop, Canada: BQX czar stepping down next month

Departure is not the greatest sign for the project
September 18, 2018 12:15PM

A rendering of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector and Adam Giambrone (Credit: BQX and Wikipedia)

The head of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector project (BQX) is stepping down, perhaps signaling even further trouble for the proposed $2.7 billion light rail.

Adam Giambrone, director of the BQX, told colleagues on Monday that Oct. 5 will be his last day, as he will be “pursuing a new opportunity in the transit space north of the border,” Politico reported. Giambrone, former chair of the agency that runs Toronto’s streetcar network, is leaving just two years after becoming the BQX czar.

The personnel change doesn’t exactly bode well for a project that’s already hit a few speed bumps. Last month, city officials indicated that the light rail will run along a shorter route than expected, cost more to build and not arrive for more than 10 years. The project will also depend on $1.3 billion in yet-to-be-secured federal funding. City officials previously expected that the BQX would pay for itself by increasing property values along its route that would lead to extra tax revenue.

Many of the projects backers are in real estate, including Two Trees Management’s Jed Walentas and the Durst Organization’s Helena Durst.

“Adam’s expertise was critical in helping launch the BQX project,” said mayoral spokesperson Jane Meyer. “He is moving back to Canada to be with his family and pursue other opportunities. We thank him for his service and wish him well.” [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel