Opponents of Controversial Penn Station Mega-Towers Deal Rally to Stop Plan Ahead of Final State Vote
As State Rushes Toward Approval on Controversial Real Estate Deal at Penn Station, Coalition of Transit Activists, Community Residents + Small Biz Owners Urge Lawmakers to Stop Massive Giveaway to Billionaire Donor Steve Roth
Rally follows letter from elected officials representing Penn Station calling for State to delay vote on plan
Trains Before Towers – a movement supported by community residents, housing and transit advocates, and local business owners – will rally on Thursday, calling on lawmakers to stop the plan to build 10 new massive towers around Penn Station. The rally will take place a week ahead of Empire State Development Corporation’s (ESD) final vote to approve the controversial real estate deal. Federal,state and local elected officials called for the State to halt the plan this week, pointing out that many questions remain about the project’s necessity and financing.
Despite serious, unanswered concerns raised by New York City’s Independent Budget Office, the New York City Planning Commission and nearly every State Senator representing the five boroughs, the Empire State Development Corporation plans to vote on approvals for 18 million square feet of new skyscrapers next week. The plan, which would usurp City land use authority, would enrich billionaire Steve Roth of Vornado without any guarantees the scheme would adequately fund transit improvements at Penn Station. Roth is also a major donor to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign.
WHO: Layla Law-Gisiko, Urban Planning Chair of Community Board 5
Charles Khan, Organizing Director, Strong Economy For All Coalition
Sam Turvey, co-chair of Empire Station Coalition
Alexandros Washburn, Grand Penn Community Alliance
WHAT Opponents of Controversial Penn Station Mega-Towers Deal to Rally Ahead of Senate Hearing
WHEN July 14, 12 PM
WHERE Penn Station, East corner of 31st and 8th Avenue
Earlier this year, the City’s Independent Budget Office released a report, raising serious questions about the financial viability of the project and whether there were enough details to gauge the plan’s impact. The IBO report also concluded that while the State would collect payments from Vornado, the City would lose out on property tax revenue that it would have earned in a standard rezoning process. A majority of the city’s Senate delegation have voiced opposition to the plan. The Senators specifically voiced concerns about how much Vornado will receive in subsidies and other State-sponsored benefits as part of the plan and how much the City stands to lose in property taxes, urging ESD to halt the plan until there are “explanations provided and agreements made associated with the cost, design, scope, bond liabilities, and other aspects of the project that remain unknown.” Good government groups including Common Cause, Reinvent Albany, BetaNYC, League of Women Voters and NYPIRG have also voiced opposition to the plan.