Tunnelgate? Hal Fetner says Chris Christie had a role in killing 42nd Street 7 stop

"For what it's worth, I fought very hard for that stop," developer says

From left: Chris Christie (credit: Getty Images), the Victory at 561 10th Avenue and Hal Fetner
From left: Chris Christie (credit: Getty Images), the Victory at 561 10th Avenue and Hal Fetner

There’s no shortage of commuters who curse the name of Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor who famously killed plans to construct a desperately-needed tunnel across the Hudson River. And now you can add renters on 10th Avenue in Manhattan to that list, according to one developer.

Speaking at a panel discussion Tuesday at the offices of Mission Capital, Hal Fetner said Christie played a significant role in putting the kibosh on a No. 7 train subway station at 41st Street and 10th Avenue.

Fetner, whose company owns the Victory, a 420-unit rental building at 561 10th Avenue, said he’d lobbied for a stop on his doorstep, which would also have serviced buildings such as Silverstein Properties’ Silver Towers, Moinian Group’s SKY, Extell Development’s 555 10th Avenue, and Related Companies’ MiMA development. But Christie — who said he killed the ARC tunnel project in 2010 over cost concerns — got in the way of the plans.

“Chris Christie, believe it or not, had a role in screwing that up here in the city, because the real plan was a stop there, on 34th Street and then underneath the river to Jersey,” he said. “For what it’s worth, I fought very hard for that stop.”

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As Fetner tells it, he went with former Real Estate Board of New York president Steve Spinola and CBRE broker Mary Ann Tighe to Vice President Joe Biden’s office in Washington, D.C. nearly a decade ago to lobby for federal funds for the construction of the 7 train extension. The project, he said, qualified for a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant.

“We were going to get the money to build the 41st/42nd street stop and partial portion of the money to go under the river,” he said. “But to be very candid, [Sen. Chuck] Schumer, [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg and Christie all got in a pissing match over how 9/11 money and Sandy money was being used and this got in the way.”

The original plan for the 7 train extension to Hudson Yards included the stop at 10th Avenue and 41st Street, but those plans died after the federal government rejected the city’s $3 million Tiger II grant application. REBNY had pledged $250,000 in matching funds for the MTA to study the feasibility of building a non-island shell station at 41st Street and 10th Avenue. The real estate lobby later pledged to work to secure money from the ARC tunnel, but Christie buried the project and any hope of the station at 41st Street opening.

The Hudson Yards stop at 34th Street was finally unveiled last year.

There remains an easement below Fetner’s building for a future station, he said. Schumer has since called for revival of the extension plans.