MTA could sell buildings to raise cash

Facing a $100 million budget gap, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is thinking about selling or leasing a portion of its 3 million-square-foot New York City office portfolio in order to avoid additional service cuts and fare hikes. According to the Wall Street Journal, the agency issued a request for proposals last month hoping to find ways to raise cash from its real estate. The MTA currently spends almost $89 million per year in rent, taxes and operating costs for its offices, but much of that space is going unused in the wake of steep staff cuts. Among the properties now said to be on the chopping block is the MTA’s 277,000-square-foot headquarters at 347 Madison Avenue, which is around 80 percent occupied, and a mostly-vacant Jay Street facility in Downtown Brooklyn that the agency had planned to renovate. The Madison Avenue property, which sits between 44th and 45th streets and is connected to Grand Central Terminal via an underground passageway, could be particularly valuable because it comes with the opportunity to purchase air rights from Grand Central. [WSJ]

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