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Carter's View

Governor David A. Paterson, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director and CEO Elliot G. Sander and Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger today announced the conditional selection of Related Companies/Goldman Sachs to develop the air space over the two development sites that compose the MTA's John D. Caemmerer Rail Yard that is in two parts, a western yard and an eastern yard.

A press release said that the project "will feature world-leading sustaintability and extensive affordable housing, centered around an expansive public space destined to be one of New York's premier gathering spaces."

Governor Paterson said the agreement "highlights the resilience of public-private partnerships in the face of the national economic downturn that we are experiencing." He said that the venture "will lay the foundation for a reimagined Far West Side that will expand the Midtown business corridor and further strengthen the City and State economies."

Mayor Bloomberg hailed the agreement as "great news for the City," adding that "Despite the setbacks of the last few weeks, we are certain that Related and Goldman will realize this tremendous opportunity to develop what is really the only large parcel of undeveloped space left in Manhattan." He said it will be "a truly transit oriented development."

Mr. Hemmerdinger, MTA chairman, declared that "this extraordinary deal indicates the strength of the New York market," adding that the deal provides the MTA with more than $1 billion. "To put this deal back together without losing any time is astounding," he said.

Stephen M. Ross, chairman of Related Companies, said that his company and Goldman Sachs "are proud to have beeen selected to create New York's next great neighborhood, The Hudson Yards." A rendering of Related's previously submitted plan is at the right.

A special meeting of the MTA's board is scheduled for this Thursday to approve the deal. If the board authorizes the conditional designation letter, an $11 million deposit would be released from escrow to the MTA that would then enter into a comtract with the developer within the next few months.

The High line on the south and west edges of the yards will be retained in the proposal, which also will make 20 percent of the rental on-site housing, about 440 units, permanently affordable. The project will also achieve LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 13-acre eastern section of the yards, which was rezoned in 2005, allows for about 6.27 million square feet of mixed-use development at a Floor-to-Area ratio of 11 and requires about 7 acres of pubic open space. The plan calls for 5 buildings with 3.57 million square feet of office space, 565,000 square feet of retail and a total of 830 rental units and 692 condominium apartments and 200,000 square feet of community and cultural space.

The plan for the western yards adheres to the design guidelines in the MTA's request for proposals but needs to be go through the city's rezoning approval process.

The plan calls for a total of 8 buildings with 1,324 rental units with not less than 20 percent permanently affordable and 1,927 condominium apartments plus 1.92 million square feet of office space in one building, 192,000 square feet of retail space and a 120,000-square foot PS/IS school.

When News Corporation indicated it was no longer interested in his project in March, Mr.Ross's company altered its bid and said it was interesting only in the Western half of the project.

The MTA had confirmed last week that the other three ventures that had initially submitted bids in a second round of bidding - The Related Companies, theExtell Development Company, and a joint venture between the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust, were still interested.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.