Among the more positive things to emerge from the 2016 election was the very visible outpour of love and solidarity by New Yorkers, who not only took to the streets together to stand up for what they believe in, but without inhibition expressed their anger, fears, hopes and words of comfort for one another on colorful Post-Its stretched along the 14th Street-6th/7th Avenue subway corridor. Recognizing the historic nature of this spontaneous art movement, Governor Cuomo announced this morning that the New-York Historical Society will partner with the MTA to preserve some of the thousands of “Subway Therapy” sticky notes that have materialized over the last weeks.
The shovels were out at JFK’s TWA Flight Terminal yesterday, as MCR Development and JetBlue broke ground on their project to turn Eero Saarinen‘s mid-century modern masterpiece into the high-end, 505-room TWA Hotel. According to a press release, Governor Cuomo attended the festivities, noting that the conversion “will preserve this iconic landmark while cementing JFK’s status as a crown jewel of aviation.” The news also came with two renderings that show the two, six-story, crescent shaped hotel buildings that will rise on either side of the existing structure.
On Monday, the Governor’s office put out a statement that Cuomo was “cautiously optimistic” that the Second Avenue Subway would open on time by the end of the month. Yesterday, MTA chairman Tom Prendergast echoed this statement, but was quick to point out that the long-awaited line would only open on December 31st if all stations were up and running (previous reports talked of a partial opening), reports the Daily News. “Track’s done, signals are done, we’ve run trains, we’ve exercised the signal system,” he said. “We’re talking about finish and escalators, elevators — things of that nature in the station.”
Back in January, Amtrak unveiled its $24B Gateway Program, a plan that would overhaul the Hudson River rail tunnels by building a brand new tunnel and repairing another that is currently in disrepair. Work under the plan would also encompass expanding Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan and replacing rail bridges in New Jersey. While details on the course of construction were previously thin, according to draft proposals obtained by Reuters, we now know that work on the new tunnel will begin in 2019, and the West Side Highway could be subject to three years of traffic jams as a result.
NYC will get a big boost thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council competitions, a six-year-old initiative that provides “ground-up” funding driven by a community’s success in improving quality of life and growing the local economy. New York City was named a “top performer” by the administration and awarded $80.2 million. The hefty sum will be allocated towards 121 projects across all five boroughs, including $1 million to build a tech incubator facility in Brooklyn, $1 million for a shuttle-bus service for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, $2.1 million to support the Green Point Manufacturing and Design Center, and $1.24 million to complete the final section of the Brooklyn Bridge Park beneath the bridge. Money will also go towards brownfield clean-up, supporting workforce expansion in local organizations, job training, and improving parks in low-income neighborhoods.
NYC Subway riders will soon be less able to blame their subway commute for not being able to immediately answer that all-important email or text.
Last January 6sqft highlighted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to get all MTA subway stations connected with free Wi-Fi by the end of this year as part of a comprehensive plan to upgrade subway infrastructure. According to AMNewYork, plans to implement free Wi-Fi in all 279 of the city’s subway stations are on track for the end of this year; as of Tuesday, 250 of them are already up and running.
As of the summer, Mayor de Blasio was ahead of schedule on his ambitious plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years, having financed nearly 53,000 such apartments. His goal will now be even closer in grasp thanks to the additional $300 million in federally tax-exempt bonds the Governor has allocated to subsidize the cost of new construction, which brings the city’s total bond capacity to $771 million, according to the Daily News, an 11 percent increase over 2o15.
Ever since the city’s 421-a tax exemption program expired in January, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) have been negotiating under what terms to extend and/or modify the program. Both groups took part in what the city believes were “secret talks” with Governor Cuomo over the summer, after which he released his proposal to revise 421-a with wage subsidies for construction workers. REBNY was concerned about this stipulation, claiming it would increase construction costs by up to 30 percent, but a press release sent yesterday evening reports that they’ve reached an agreement with the Trades Council to move ahead with Cuomo’s version of the plan, which, in addition to setting a $60 hourly wage for qualifying projects in Manhattan and $45 in Brooklyn and Queens, extends the tax breaks up to 35 years (up from de Blasio’s proposed 25 years) and mandates newly created affordable units be kept in place for 40 years.
The city’s hotly debated 421-a tax abatement program expired in January after a 44-year run. CityRealty reports that the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development has seen the number of applications for tax exemption decrease by 45 percent from that time to September 2016, costing the city $1.2 billion this fiscal year. Over the summer, the Governor presented a revised version of the program that would offer wage subsidies to construction workers, but this drew concern from the Real Estate Board of New York, who say the proposal would cause construction costs to rise by up to 30 percent. Now, Politico reports that Cuomo, developers, and unions have been engaging in closed-door negotiations to bring his plan forward and extend the previous 25-year tax break up to 45 years (REBNY and the Mayor had presented a 35-year extension last summer).
Approval process for new $24 billion Hudson River tunnels fast-tracked; construction could start in 2019, Tue, October 18, 2016
The $24 billion plan to construct two rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River has been designated a priority, which will get it fast-tracked through environmental and permitting stages and trim development time by a year or more, the Wall Street Journal reports; with construction beginning in 2019, the tunnels could be operational as early as 2024, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a news conference at Penn Station on Friday. Both Amtrak and NJ Transit will use the new tunnels, which are among the first steps in a broader plan by Amtrak find ways to handle double the current number of passenger trains running beneath the Hudson River.