MTA Almost Wakes UP

It seems like the MTA has finally woken up to the potential value of the land it is selling at the Hudson Yards site, the last substantial piece of undeveloped land in Midtown Manhattan. It’s now interested in holding some kind of equity stake in the property and a cut of future profits from its development. This is highly logical, since a large chunk of the land’s value will come from the transit improvements the agency will be building such as the westward extension of the 7 line. The developers point out the potentially weakening property market and the billions they will have to be putting out as reasons for opposing such an idea.

Chanel Thirteen recently showed the American Experience documentary on the construction of Grand Central, a huge project largely funded through land development by the New York Central Railroad. A core problem at work here is that a government agency neither has the skills or more importantly the financial incentive (it’s not their money) to run the numbers properly and think about these projects in a business like way. Hong Kong’s awesome transit infrastructure is funded by a private company that also acts as a land developer.

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