Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vornado Watch

According to the Observer's real estate blog, our friends at Vornado, undeterred by their failure to outbid Jerry Speyer for the Far West Side property, are back in the game: "Vornado Realty Trust, led by CEO Steve Roth, has been selected to develop an expanded trade show facility on the far West Side, expanding a modest convention center on Pier 94 into Pier 92." And it appears from this report that the project will be subject to some kind of environmental review since Vornado has hired good old Philip Habib to do a traffic study.

What this means is that Vornado, intent upon evicting a neighborhood Key Food from a shopping center that it owns in the Bronx, needs to curry city favor in order to get approval for its latest real estate venture. It would be a perfect time for the city council and the mayor to use this discretionary opportunity to get the proper quid pro quo from the Distrusters at Vornado.

The project at Pier 94 will not be the last favor that Vornado seeks-and we'll be looking to see who's gonna step up. As the Sun reports this morning: "Along with the Related Companies, Vornado is involved in the plan to remake Pennsylvania Station and turn the surrounding area into a premier residential and office district. With the right public pressure we're sure that Roth will see the handwriting on the wall, as he did when he scrapped his Wal-Mart project in Rego Park.