Hudson Yards May Be Most Valuable Park Real Estate

New York wants to throw in an additional $374 million in order to bolster and add to a green space that’s located near Hudson Yards, the megaproject on the western fringes of midtown and right on top of rail tracks

New York wants to throw in an additional $374 million in order to bolster and add to a green space that’s located near Hudson Yards, the megaproject on the western fringes of midtown and right on top of rail tracks. Crain’s reports that the high price tag isn’t just an illusion because the acreage would cost more than $124 million per acre, which would make this project the most expensive project related to parks in this city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio last month allowed the project to move ahead. He signaled an okay for $500 million of bonds to be used by the corporation in charge of the park, which the city controls. Property tax revenue in the area is what is allowing the bonds to be backed.

The Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp. plans to use most of that money to work on a major phase that involves a park that runs through the Hudson Yards area and fits part of original design plans from 2005 that called for such a park.

“That is an astounding price tag,” said Adrian Benepe, one of Trust for Public Land’s senior vice president at the Trust for Public Land. Benepe is also a former park commissioner. “It blows out of the water by far the previous most-expensive park that I had ever heard of, which is the High Line.”

Tishman Speyer is getting involved in a big way by helping the park make the payments. Speyer gets the development rights at a planned tower in return for the help. The city has to acquire the land one way or the other, by enticing landowners with good buyouts or trying more forcefully remove them with eminent domain.

Crain’s explained the rising costs as happening “since the idea for the park was hatched more than 10 years ago. However, the city insulated itself from the full extent of the neighborhood’s value increases by omitting future parcels from density bonuses granted to surrounding land, a property expert said.”

Robert Knakal, a former Cushman & Wakefield investment sales broker, said that “in addition, these properties have all been under the threat of condemnation for years,” adding that “for that reason, they are almost impossible to sell.”

City Hall said the park is currently being planned, and this is part of what the mayor has wanted for the Hudson Yards area, more green space of how densely populated Hudson Yards is expected to get as it builds into a city within a city.

“Every New Yorker deserves well designed public space,” the mayor said last month while he announced the bond authorization. “In a growing neighborhood like Hudson Yards, 3 acres of new parks is a vital investment in the wellbeing of residents for generations to come.”

Some park advocates elsewhere may be irked though by one project receiving so much funding when they have projects that would cost far less per acre.

By: John Parker

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