The Daily Dirt: This developer had the same idea for Penn Station

TRD New York /
Jan.January 09, 2020 03:41 PM
Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2020 State of the State Address to the Legislature (Credit: Governor’s Office via Flickr)

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2020 State of the State Address to the Legislature (Credit: Governor’s Office via Flickr)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Tell that to JDS Development Group, I guess.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his plan this week to expand Penn Station, he didn’t mention that its new terminal south of the station was not a new concept. He certainly didn’t say that JDS pitched a very similar idea four years ago.

The developer, along with a team of designers and engineers, had responded to the state’s request for expressions of interest in overhauling Penn Station back in 2016. JDS’ pitch included the state acquiring the block south of Penn through eminent domain to create a terminal with or without the eventual construction of the Gateway project’s tunnels to New Jersey. A southern expansion of Penn had been discussed previously, to accommodate the additional trains Gateway would bring.

JDS’ proposal and others didn’t go anywhere. It’s not clear if the state will issue another RFP or if JDS will get another chance to work on the project.

The Penn expansion was just one of several proposals that Cuomo rolled out in the lead-up to his State of the State address Wednesday. In that speech the governor also vowed to renew efforts to legalize recreational marijuana. He also separately called for changes to broker licensing, including getting rid of restrictions on applicants who are not U.S. citizens or green card holders.

Dow Jones says Keller Williams Midtown cried wolf to get out of $2 million in rent payments.

The publishing giant claims Keller Williams, which was subletting space at 1155 Sixth Avenue, lied about its financial situation to avoid paying more than $2 million in rent, E.B. Solomont reports. According to a new lawsuit, Keller Williams had defaulted on rent starting in the spring of 2018.

The brokerage and Dow Jones had previously reached an agreement based in part on the assertions of Keller Williams executives that they planned to discontinue operations within three months. At the time, Dow Jones agreed to accept less than what was owed in rent, based on the belief that the brokerage was insolvent, according to the lawsuit.

But the brokerage didn’t halt operations entirely. Instead, it moved to a WeWork space at 575 Fifth Avenue, cutting down on expenses.

“It is easy for Keller Williams to minimize expenses when it does not pay rent,” Dow Jones states in its complaint.

The brokerage says the lawsuit has no merit.

What we’re thinking about: What development should we be watching in Coney Island? Send note to Send a note to [email protected].


Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Wednesday was for a condo unit at 250 South Street in Two Bridges, at $12.8 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a development site at 1640 Flatbush Avenue by Flatbush Junction, at $16 million.


The largest new building filing of the day was for a 31,976-square-foot residential building at 39-04 29th Street in Long Island City. Nestor Varela filed the permit application.


The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo unit at 160 Leroy Street in the West Village, at $11.8 million. Core’s Shaun Osher and Gabrielle Cangelosi have the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

Jonathan Miller, perhaps the most quoted man in all of real estate reporting, is officially a grandpa! Congrats, Jonathan. Thank you to Erin Hudson for providing this tidbit.

Elsewhere in New York

— The sleek new contactless subway-fare readers have been charging some riders who swipe a traditional MetroCard, the New York Post reports. The MTA is discussing the double-fare glitch with Apple Pay.

— Speaking of MTA glitches, the agency has pulled 298 of its newest subway cars out of service over mysterious door issues, The City reports. MTA officials said two recent incidents “raised questions” about the doors’ reliability but wouldn’t specify what went wrong. Subway door malfunctions are best left up to the imagination, I guess.

— The U.S. Marshals Service seized Book Culture, a bookstore on the Upper West Side, because of a rent dispute, Gothamist reports. According to co-owner Chris Doeblin, his store fell behind in payments over the summer. :(

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