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What's New on the Far West Side? (Note Correction!)

The Times today reported that the State has announced the long-awaited and substantially scaled-back expansion plans for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The new scheme for the Javits Center would add 60,000 square feet of exhibit space, far less than in earlier plans. Ms. Lampen said that the development corporation was exploring the possibility of putting a convention hotel with a large ballroom and meeting room space at the north end of an expanded Javits site, between 39th and 40th Streets.

There's movement on the development of the Hudson Yards. According to Community Board 4, the EIS Scope Document has been released can be found on their web site, and also on City Planning's site. The Related Company will be presenting their plans for the Western Rail Yards to Community Board 4 next Monday, September 15. On September 22, the Board will have a "Community Input Meeting" about the five design proposals for the Hudson Yards park and streetscape design. Visit their site for meeting details and other information.

Newpennstation thanks Community Board 4, for correcting our information on development around Hudson yards.

Read "Plan to Expand Javits Center Is Revived, Less Ambitiously" in the New York Times by Charles Bagli.

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GlobeSt.com on the “Real West Side Story”

In an article posted today on GlobeSt.com, Paul Bubny assesses the state of various projects on the Far West Side of Manhattan and reports that “influential voices say the real catalyst for redeveloping the Far West Side is Moynihan Station.”

Among those voices is that of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who points out that there’s six million sf of class A office space in the Penn Station area compared to 36 million sf near Grand Central Terminal, even though more than twice as many commuters use Penn Station. Last month, Schumer reiterated his call for jump-starting the Moynihan Station project and putting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in charge.

Kent Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society, which advocates a redeveloped Penn Station, says he "couldn’t agree more. This is one of the most important projects for the future of this city, for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s a transportation project; it’s essential to strengthen our connections to the rest of the country. Secondly, of all the things that one might do, this is the most important in terms of creating access to the West Side. We’re aspiring to build a new city over there, one that’s roughly the size of downtown Seattle. It’s just not going to happen unless it’s convenient and easy to get to."

As a gateway not only to the Far West Side but also to the city itself, a redeveloped Penn Station could energize the commercial office market the way Grand Central did for its own district. "The site almost demands that the public sector give it the highest priority going forward," says Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress. "That’s where you should put development." He cites Penn Station’s accessibility and capacity: with 550,000 daily users, it’s the busiest transportation facility in the US.

And that daily traffic may only increase. "As the price of gas goes up and flying becomes more inconvenient because of security, we think there’s going to be more and more rail travel," says Barwick.

Advocacy groups such as RPA and MAS argue that the station’s levels of convenience and aesthetic appeal need to be elevated along with its capacity, especially if it’s going to serve as the centerpiece of a mixed-use project that could include as much as one million sf of retail space. The original Pennsylvania Station, built in 1910 and demolished half a century later, was conceived as just such a centerpiece for large-scale development that never took place.

"We would love to see the broader concept—the one that involves moving the Garden—fall into place, but we’re enthusiastic about doing the Farley building whether that happens or not," says Barwick. "We think the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan had a great idea to create this additional capacity and in the bargain a grand space like Grand Central. If we can get the broader idea back together, terrific—provided it’s on reasonable terms. We don’t want to spend all this money to preserve and restore the building and then see it trashed by poorly thought-out commercial decisions. We’re optimistic that New York will not miss this chance."

Read “NYC’s Real West Side Story,” by Paul Bubny for GlobeSt.com


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