October 15th, 2008
The Bloomberg administration has seen no shortage of plans for grandiose development projects. But with credit tight and the city’s economy reeling from Wall Street’s woes, some of those projects — for better or worse — seem likely to go no further than drawing boards.
Vornado Realty Trust has already suspended its plans for a 23-story, $435 million headquarters for Major League Baseballís cable network in Harlem and, the Times reports today, Vornado says its effort to build a 1.3 million-square-foot office tower over the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street is also “dormant.”
At a forum on the New York City economy at Cooper Union last night, panelists offered their own predictions of likely losers. (And please send us yours!)
Julia Vitullo-Martin (whose article on Brooklyn retail appears on Gotham Gazette this week), a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said she hopes Atlantic Yards will fall victim to economic woes. The city, she said, can no longer afford to subsidize the arena and residential complex in downtown Brooklyn.
Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future, forecast the demise of the Javits Center expansion because the city would not “get the money out of that by any stretch.” In these times, he said, we may have to give up some attractive projects that are not essential, such as Governor’ s Island.
What would they keep? Bowles thinks the city must continue to try to find way — ferries for example — to improve public transportation to outlying neighborhoods. Vitullo-Martin hopes the Second Avenue Subway will continue to move forward — but, with a shake of his head, E.J McMahon, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy indicated he did not think that was likely.
Both McMahon and Vitullo-Martin decried the work the city did not take on when it had money. “History will look back at us and see how much money we had — and we put nothing into our infrastructure,” Vitullo-Martin said. This includes “the most obvious and inexpensive” projects, such as light rail, which she said, “we did not even think about.”
The failure to use the money from the good times to improve our infrastructure is a blown opportunity,” McMahon said. “It’s gone.”By Gail Robinson on October 15, 2008, 9:21 am
In category: Economy, Gotham City, Land Use, Transportation | 3 Comments »