Seizing Midtown

The Story

Governor Cuomo has proposed a new plan to fix Penn Station in which a state authority, in partnership with private developers, could seize some of the surrounding area for the development of major office buildings. Once built, these new properties would generate tax revenues that could pay for the upgrades. The proposed legislation authorizing the plan would exempt New York State from city land use or zoning laws and from state and city environmental review procedures. Everyone agrees that Penn Station needs to be fixed, but the state — with its decidedly mixed record on economic development — is not the entity to do it.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Ineffective: Cuomo’s use of economic development corporations has been largely ineffective. Read more.

  2. Corruption: Self-dealing and fraud have plagued the governor’s economic development projects. Read more.

  3. Eminent: The use of eminent domain to seize private property in Manhattan has an ugly history of destroying existing neighborhoods. Read more.

“The misery of Penn Station is the result of bad planning and special interests run amok, and you can’t fix that original sin by doubling down on it.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Manhattan’s Other Building Controversy By Josh Barro (August 24, 2010)

“Plans to construct a high-rise near the Empire State Building have sparked opposition.”

And in other news...

“Shola Olatoye, who has struggled to turn around the historically underfunded, mismanaged New York City Housing Authority since being named its chairwoman four years ago, is stepping down.”