Lawsuit: State mishandled Penn project, did Vornado’s bidding
Hochul “committed” to Penn Station redevelopment
Governor doubles down after Vornado hints at pausing megadevelopment
Gov. Kathy Hochul dismissed doubts around on Penn Station’s redevelopment and expansion as the plan appears to be in trouble.
The governor, when asked about the transit hub’s redevelopment on WNYC’s “All Things Considered,” refuted a recent comment from a state senator saying it was “dead three different ways.”
“I’m committed to getting that done,” Hochul said, vowing to pursue an “alternative plan” if necessary as the project is “not contingent on what Vornado [Realty Trust] was planning in the entire neighborhood.”
Megadevelopment plans around Penn Station call for 10 high-rises on eight development sites, five of which are controlled by Vornado. The firm could become lead developer of the others as well.
State authorities in July approved a plan to partially pay for the redevelopment of the beleaguered transit station, estimating that payments in lieu of taxes from private development could generate up to $3.75 billion for the project.
But Steven Roth’s real estate investment trust has hinted at a waning appetite for doing the project soon, suggesting in recent months it would pause its plans for the Penn district, given rising interest rates and diminishing demand for office space.
“My plan is simply to give New York commuters an experience that is not equated to a living hell, OK?” Hochul added during her radio appearance.
The development around Penn Station is expected to yield 18 million square feet of commercial space and nearly 1,200 apartments. Vornado controls five of the eight development sites in the district.
The redevelopment has been the subject of legal challenges. A lawsuit in October claimed Vornado improperly influenced the project and the state sidestepped environmental regulations to push it through. A similar lawsuit filed in September alleged the state was “zealous in concealing the central role played by Vornado Realty Trust” in the project.
— Holden Walter-Warner