After the (not surprising) Vornado’s announcement putting the development part of the project on the back burner, many residents and businesses are relieved that their office or residences will not be razed. They couldn’t be more wrong.
First Vornado: We told you so. The community spent eight months telling the Empire State Developement(ESD) and Vornado that the market for office buildings has no legs due to the changes in office practices. Now the banks and investors are saying the same. No loans, no buildings.
Governor Hochul pledges to “continue the Penn Station Projects with State Funds”. This is good for Transporation. The Public Realm task force to design a seamless integration with the public space should take a larger role: without new buildings entrances to the station, access will be more problematic than ever.
Meanwhile Amtrack is preparing the Draft Federal Environmental Impact Assessment for the expansion of the station to the south. If the current “Terminal” design is adopted, three vibrant Manhattan blocks will be razed and the commuters will lose as well. Last week, a forum of transportation experts explained the technology behind the smart alternative called thru-running. This video illustrates thru-running benefits for commuters and residents.
So Vornado’s demise is a small step in a much bigger battle still ahead of us.