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Taxpayers May Foot Bill for Penn Station Revitalization, Report Says


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In some ways, the project mirrored Mr. Cuomo’s other efforts to place his imprint on town, including the renovation of the Moynihan Train Hall across the road from Penn Station and his reconstruction of town’s major airports in Queens.

On this case, the funds from the event would pay for cosmetic improvements at Penn Station, in addition to a possible expansion of the station a block south of its current location. Latest tracks and platforms would add rail capability along the economically vital corridor connecting commuters in Latest Jersey to jobs in Latest York, after a second tunnel is built under the Hudson River.

The state would wield its authority to overrule local zoning and planning laws in order that developers could construct larger buildings at the location than otherwise allowed. When Ms. Hochul succeeded Mr. Cuomo, she continued the state’s support for the project while making modest changes to appease critics, equivalent to expanding pedestrian pathways and barely reducing the project’s proposed scale.

The report also highlights a key concern from critics: It could largely profit a single company, Vornado Realty Trust, considered one of town’s largest office developers. Vornado owns 4 sites in the event zone and a part of a fifth, and its chief executive, Steven Roth, last yr donated the utmost, $69,700, to Ms. Hochul’s campaign.

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Mr. Roth, along together with his members of the family, also gave Mr. Cuomo about $400,000 in campaign donations before he resigned. State officials and a Vornado spokesman have said the donations didn’t influence Vornado’s role within the enterprise. Mr. Roth has called the redevelopment of the Penn Station area Vornado’s “Promised Land.”

In an earnings call this week, Mr. Roth reiterated the corporate’s commitment to the state’s project. “Obviously, we support it,” he said.

A Vornado spokesman declined to comment on the record on the report.

Despite the state’s multiyear work on the project and its imminent approval, the Independent Budget Office found that the plan lacked a sturdy evaluation of the various risks, including the results of the shift to distant work and whether the brand new Penn Station towers could negatively impact Hudson Yards, the big development on the far West Side of Manhattan. Hudson Yards opened in 2019 and has a similarly structured tax deal because the proposed Penn Station site.

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