Saturday, February 23, 2008

Man Plans, and James Dolan Laughs

We've gotten a kick out of all of the huffing and puffing coming out of the city council concerning the tax abatements being received by MSG and Cablevision. All the posturing and threats come down to this-absolutely nothing. Why? Because James Dolan and company are sitting in the development catbird seat. Eliot Brown puts this into perspective at the Observer: "If the Garden did pull out of the project, it would invite a return to late 2006, when the Pataki administration wanted to push through an expansion of the train station into the Farley building, leaving the existing Penn Station as is. Such a move would be a major disappointment to city, state and elected officials and to the developers, the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, who have devoted countless hours and tens of millions of dollars into the plan thus far—a plan that would create, both directly and indirectlly, billions of dollars of surrounding new development."

As Charles Bagli also outlines today in the NY Times: "There is squabbling between developers, the Garden, government officials, community groups and preservationists over the designs and how much the public would benefit. And now negotiations have stalled, despite three years of planning and lobbying in Albany and Washington, the officials and executives said. Those people spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid inflaming state officials."

Que lastima! All of the big plans are dependent on the Garden agreeing to move across the street-talk about your short hairs; so any threats being leveled at the Dolanites are just a lot of hot air since he and his company are the linchpin of all of this development potential.

Which leaves us, if the premise of the story holds, feeling really bad about the possibility that the Bobbsey Twins of real estate-Related and Vornado-may have all of their dreams turn into nightmares; not to mention squandering around $50 million in pre-development spending. Vornado in particular here gets all of our false pity since it is the leading sponsor of Wal-Mart among local developers, and is trying to terminate an important Key Food supermarket in the Bronx.

If in fact all of the Moynihan planning goes back to square one, then we'll see if Vornado will be able to maintain its co-favored nation status in New York City, Certainly we're going to do all we can to insure that it doesn't; that is, unless it wakes up and starts doing the right thing on Bruckner Boulevard. Remember; the bigger they are....