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New York approves new tower in exchange for subway upgrades

| Jun 10, 2015 | Commercial Real Estate

Developing commercial real estate in New York is a complicated process, to say the least. In addition to the parties directly involved in the transaction, state and local government bodies often play an important role in moving a project forward. A project recently approved by the New York City Council is a good example.

The council voted to approve construction of a 63-floor office building near Grand Central Station, at Vanderbilt Avenue and 42nd Street. The council’s approval was part of a deal with the developer, which has agreed to provide $220 million in public transit improvements. The improvements are intended to ease congestion on the Lexington Avenue subway line, particularly on trains 4, 5 and 6.

As part of the agreement with the developer, the council approved zoning changes that will allow taller buildings to be constructed in a five-block section of Vanderbilt Avenue. The developer has agreed to build a street-level pedestrian plaza, new subway entrances and a public space in the building’s lobby.

Congestion on the Lexington Avenue Line has been a headache for subway riders for some time. The improvements will include wider passageways for riders walking to trains and smaller stairwells to allow more room on station platforms. With the Metropolitan Transit Authority facing a huge budget shortfall, transit advocates and officials at the MTA have praised the idea of making project approvals contingent on developers providing transit improvements.

Commercial real estate transactions involving multiple parties present a myriad of challenges. Working with an experienced real estate law firm can help a party get the transaction done efficiently and successfully.

Source: New York Times, “Plan to Build Tower at Grand Central in Exchange for Transit Upgrades Is Approved,” Emma G. Fitzsimmons, May 27, 2015

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