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Another Reason to Ditch Towers Around Penn

So there’s another plan for Penn Station that doesn’t depend on leveling blocks of Midtown for giant office towers. The company proposing the new plan says it will pay the development costs in anticipation of future paybacks from the railroads.

This may or may not be “Plan B.” But The New York Times story described the State’s General Project Plan (GPP) as “all but dead” and said, “developers are scrambling to fill the void.” Elected officials and Madison Square Garden are quoted as interested in this latest proposal.

Madison Square Garden would be surrounded by a glass podium, while the demolition of the Theater at MSG would allow for the creation of a grand street-level entrance on Eighth Avenue, in this draft rendering. – Illustration from The New York Times

Community groups have proposed alternative plans for Penn for some time. These all assume that Madison Square Garden moves. Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams have shown no interest in pushing that.

The Governor hasn’t commented publicly on the new proposal. She continues to waffle on withdrawing the proposal for giant office towers around the Station, even though there is significant political and public opposition. It is clear the current scheme would offer only a minimal amount of money for Station improvements.

Vornado says it’s not building now. We know the towers have little to do with improving Penn. But the company wants its deal with the State to continue indefinitely. Why should they get to hold on to a deal offering billions in tax breaks to use at their convenience?

Vornado owns a lot of land around Penn. It can build on its property in the future by going through the City’s normal land use review process and financing the construction. Taxpayers should not be on the hook.

Tell the Governor it’s time to end the current GPP. Key State Senator Leroy Comrie has already declared it “dead.” It’s time for a proper burial.

You can help. Contact Governor Hochul through Director of State Operations Kathryn Garcia who is charged with promoting the Governor’s current plan. Kathryn.Garcia@exec.ny.gov

Say “End the Penn GPP. Choose a plan for Penn that benefits the public, not a developer.”

Peg Breen, President
The New York Landmarks Conservancy

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