Save the Spur Video and Rally Recap!

The turn-out of High Line supporters for Monday’s Eastern Rail Yards Public Forum was great: more than 200 people rallied at Midtown’s Red Cross in favor of preserving the entire High Line, including the Spur over 10th Avenue. Supporters wore red “Save the Spur” T-shirts and held signs during a presentation by The Related Companies, the designated developer at the rail yards.

The Spur, a portion of the High Line that crosses 10th Avenue at 30th Street, is still clearly under threat of demolition. Almost every speaker voiced strong support for preserving the entire High Line at the rail yards, including elected leaders US Representative Jerrold Nadler and New York State Assemblymember Dick Gottfried. Related gave no concrete answer as to why the spur would need to be torn down, only that the spur is “large and dark.”

On a promising note, the building on the Western Rail Yards that was previously shown blocking the High Line’s western views was not in the plans shown on Monday night.

With your help, we will continue to put pressure on the developer, the City, the MTA, and Governor Paterson. Please stay tuned to our E-mail Newsletter for updates on what you can do to help us Save the Spur.

Thanks to everyone who came out on Monday night to show that the Spur, like the rest of the historic High Line structure, must be preserved and integrated into the rail yards development.

Related is Selected as Rail Yards Developer

Another big Rail Yards announcement this morning: the Related Companies have stepped in where Tishman Speyer dropped out earlier this month.

Related’s original proposal included the preservation of the entire High Line, including the spur over Tenth Avenue and the entire 30th Street section, which might have been demolished in Tishman Speyer’s plan. Though we haven’t seen the terms of their current agreement with the MTA, we hope they’ll stick with full preservation, fulfilling the first, and most important, of our principles for the High Line at the Rail Yards.

Developer in Deal With MTA to Develop West Side Railyards [City Room]

Related Cos. wins Hudson Yards Deal [Crain's]

Related, MTA Said to Reach Deal for Rail Yards [Observer]

New West Chelsea Gym Incorporates the High Line

What is sure to be the first of many business and residential structures built around it, a new branch of the posh Equinox gym opened January 3 under, between, and overlooking the High Line. Their lobby incorporates the High Line’s support columns, and the yoga studio looks directly onto the Line itself.

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More pictures after the jump.

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Crain’s: MTA Should Pick Most Financially Sound Developer

Unsurprisingly in the wake of the subprime crisis and general market shakiness, much of the Rail Yards dialogue has turned away from design and towards financials.

Of course, guessing is a bit tough, given the MTA’s refusal to make the financial bids public (which the HYCAC called for as part of its summary of top community concerns).

Background on the financial situations of each of the developers has led to a lot of speculation over which one would be the surest bet for the MTA, an agency that knows its way around fiscal headache.

A Crain’s editorial recently endorsed Related and Tishman Speyer for the site, pointing to anchor tenants to add heft to the deal:

There are no more resourceful, experienced or financially solid real estate companies in New York. Their tenants—News Corp. for Related and Morgan Stanley for Tishman—offer a strong likelihood the project will get off the ground.

The Crain’s site is for subscribers only, but the complete editorial is after the jump.

The MTA still plans to announce a decision by the end of March.
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Crain’s Video: Rail Yards Developers at REBNY Gala

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Crain’s caught up with four of the five Rail Yards developers at the 112th annual Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) gala.

Ric Clark from Brookfield, Stephen Ross from Related, Douglas Durst from Durst/Vornado, and Jerry Speyer from Tishman Speyer all make the case for why their development plan was the best.

Weekly News Roundup, December 11-18

  • Related Companies announces a $1.4 Billion investment by firms including Goldman Sachs and MSD Capital. While the firm’s release remarks that this news does not impact any of their current plans, including their West Side Rail Yards redevelopment proposal, the timing of their announcement is certainly convenient. The Times reports on this here.
  • Gothamist also picked up on the Crain’s story from yesterday, emphasizing the irony that the two developments that seem to have gotten the most public support so far in the review process (Brookfield and Extell) appear to be on the early chopping block due to their lack of anchor tenants.
  • New York’s Daily Intelligencer created a rather nifty grid detailing the various projects that outgoing economic-development mayor Dan Doctoroff is leaving in the lurch, including the extension of the No. 7 line to 11th Avenue and 33rd Street (described by many as a project that “must happen” in order for West Side Rail Yards redevelopment to proceed). They deem the prognosis good.
  • Another nearby project that will help create the vaunted West Side of the future is the long-discussed, little-developed Moynihan Station project, which seems to be picking up some steam with the Empire State Development Corporation’s adoption of a Related/Vornado partnership to implement the plan. Chelsea Now reports on a recent scoping hearing on this project here.

From Crain’s: Developers with Anchor Tenants Have the Edge

Crain’s New York Business reports today that the three developers who have lined up anchor tenants for the rail yards site, Related, Durst/Vornado and Tishman Speyer, have an advantage in the eyes of the MTA.

Crain’s’ Theresa Agovino reports:

The three leading contenders have each bid about $1 billion for the yards, sources say, and all have the deep pockets to finance the project. But insiders say the MTA may push for the three to join forces so it can keep all the tenants and avoid disappointing any of the politically connected developers. The MTA plans to make a decision in the first quarter, although that deadline could be extended, according to a spokesman for the agency.

“I think they will try to get us all to work together, if possible,” says an executive at one of the developers.

 While it’s apparent that the rail yards site will look different from any of the proposals unveiled in November, it’s hard to picture how a collaboration between the three frontrunners might pan out.  The new rail yards would be  new mega-corporate district developed from scratch, housing Conde Nast, News Corp and Morgan Stanley, and a host of architects and planners with competing visions.

Complete article (unavailable online to nonsubscribers) after the jump.  Continue reading

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