With West Side Projects in “Disarray,” a Growing Chorus Wants Focus on Moynihan Station
April 15th, 2008, 12:53 pm
Today, Charles Bagli of the New York Times reports that West Side redevelopment plans are in disarray because of “the economic downturn, logistical problems and, critics say, design flaws.” However, “many urban planners, architects, community leaders and developers say the downturn may have a silver lining, providing an opportunity for the city to rethink and reconfigure sweeping proposals many of them had doubts about all along.”
“We clearly can’t afford to do everything,” said Robert D. Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning group. “The moment has arrived where we have to be really clear on what we want to build and how we’re going to pay for it.” Mr. Yaro and others, including Lynne B. Sagalyn, a professor of real estate at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, have argued that the administration and its former development czar, Daniel L. Doctoroff, were mistaken to expect commercial development to leap from Eighth Avenue to the railyards. They contend commercial development has always moved parcel by parcel, block by block. For that reason, the local community board, the Regional Plan Association and many developers contend that the city and state should focus their West Side development efforts on the Penn Station area and the adjacent office district, which would require substantial government assistance in the form of grants, tax credits and zoning changes.
“The railyards will be much more valuable when the commercial district creeps up to it from the east,” said Anna Hayes Levin, a member of Community Board 4’s land use committee. “No one will go there now to be an outpost.”A separate article in today’s New York Sun reports Lieber is “convinced that the city will be able to lure Madison Square Garden back to the table for the redevelopment of Penn Station.” Mr. Bagli will be moderating a MAS panel on May 13th entitled “Moynihan Station: What Needs to Happen Next.” Read “West Side Redevelopment Plans in Disarray,” by Charles Bagli in The New York Times