FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2005
STATEMENT BY NEW YORK CITY REPRESENTATIVES ON THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY BOARD JOHN BANKS III, SUSAN KUPFERMAN, MARK LEBOW, AND MARK PAGE ON THE DISPOSITION OF THE WESTERN RAIL YARDS
"After review and consideration of the bids that were submitted to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for the development of the John D. Caemmerer Western Rail Yards, we believe that designation of the Jets is in the best interests of the MTA and the City. The Jets' bid is superior in a number of respects:
"The City, the State and the MTA have planned for the development of this site for more than three years. The now-completed bidding demonstrates a commitment to identifying the best use of the site through the use of a fair and open process. A careful look at the proposals shows that only the Jets' proposal offers a substantive basis for clarifying open issues and completing a transaction within a reasonable period of time. Cablevision's bid, on the other hand, leaves open a range of significant issues and is therefore unlikely to result in real value to the MTA. We are pleased to support the construction of the New York Sports and Convention Center, which will create enormous benefits for transit riders, and for all New Yorkers."
- It provides the MTA with greater value from the development of the Eastern Rail Yards: The Jets' completion of the New York Sports and Convention Center (NYSCC) by 2009 will serve as a catalyst to development on the adjacent, just rezoned, MTA-owned Eastern Rail Yards across 11th Avenue. The value of this to the MTA cannot be overstated. Cablevision's proposed construction schedule would leave the rail yards as a construction site until 2018, retarding development on the Eastern Rail Yards and thereby reducing substantially the value to the MTA from the sale of 6.3 million square feet of development rights on that site. A reduction in value of just $25 per square foot (a conservative figure) of on-site development on the Eastern Rail Yards would cost the MTA $157 million. At $50 per square foot the cost to the MTA would be $314 million.
- It ensures the construction of the #7 subway extension: The City's $2 billion contribution to the #7 line extension depends upon revenues from new development in the rezoned Hudson Yards area east of 11th Avenue. Cablevision's bid acknowledges that the development it proposes would compete with development opportunities in the Hudson Yards. This would reduce or slow the flow of revenues available to pay for the #7 extension and would make the financing problematic. In addition, a decade of construction and open rail yards would retard development, further hindering the financing for this project. Under the Jets' proposal the extension is assured, providing the MTA with a $2 billion asset paid for entirely with non-MTA funds. The new subway also will increase substantially the value of the MTA's additional development rights in this area.
- It provides greater certainty to the MTA: Payment by Cablevision is dependent on contractual agreement with the MTA. There are major, substantive issues to be negotiated for any use of the space over the rail yards. Cablevision has not begun this process with the MTA. In contrast, after three years of discussions the MTA and the Jets have identified and largely resolved these issues. As a result the Jets are committed to close the transaction on May 2nd as indicated in their bid.
- It offers a better fit with MTA/LIRR operations: Cablevision's development schedule envisions construction until mid-2018, and therefore would disrupt LIRR operations for a decade longer than the Jets' development.
- It provides a better fit with City/State goal of a world-class Convention Corridor: The NYSCC will offer convention capabilities not found elsewhere in New York - even in an expanded Javits Center. As a result, New York will attract events that today cannot find space in the country's most attractive market - including conventions and sporting events such as the 2010 Super Bowl. Thanks to new visitor spending, the NYSCC is expected to generate almost 7,500 permanent jobs in the City's critical tourism industry. In addition the Jets proposal will enable New York to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
- It's a better opportunity for a diverse range of communities: In recent months the Jets have announced unprecedented commitments to create a minimum of $100 million in opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses in the construction and operation of the NYSCC. At this point Cablevision has disclosed no specific plans on this issue.
- It generates greater fiscal benefits to City/State/MTA: The NYSCC will generate at least $994 million more in surplus tax revenues to the City, State and MTA over the next 30 years than the Cablevision alternative.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz