Cuomo’s $1.3B for Penn Station work can’t go to towers

Lawmakers put damper on plans for PENN 15 development

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request for $1.3 billion in funding to redevelop Penn Station is getting approved, but not without some major restrictions.

A budget bill introduced Tuesday specifies that the money can be used for “transportation improvement projects” but not for “above-grade development,” the New York Daily News reported.

Legislators effectively tapped the brakes on plans for 10 massive towers, including one super-tall known as “PENN 15,” that have been opposed by local activists and deemed too friendly to developers by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Vornado Realty Trust is the predominant land owner around the station, but there are many others.

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Critics say Cuomo’s plan would sidestep the city’s land-use process. Sen. Brad Hoylman, whose district includes much of the project, voted against the bill.

“We’ve seen no Penn Station master plan, including the full extent of the proposed transit improvements, and how and if they’re dependent on the real estate development,” he said before voting. “Before we sign the check, I think we should see the plans.”

Cuomo has also proposed a $51 billion, 114-acre “Midtown West” transformation. It includes expansions of Penn Station and the Javits Center, the redevelopment of Port Authority Bus Terminal and new housing.

Those plans are being overseen by the state’s economic development arm, and have been similarly met with opposition from local lawmakers and residents.

[Daily News] — Sasha Jones