SL Green's promise of $210 million of transit improvements in Midtown East was key for gaining approvals to build the 1,400-foot-tall One Vanderbilt beside Grand Central, but many people were skeptical of the price tag. The general thinking was how could some new stairs and a new subway entrance possibly cost $210 million? To show that there is a lot more to the plan than just stairs and entrances, SL Green broke down all of the improvements and detailed the costs line by line in a 66-page document that was shared with the public this week. Capital New York reports that transit experts say the outlined proposal is "undoubtedly robust" and the cost seems appropriate. The MTA also agrees, noting that they have found the estimates "to be sound and appropriate" (but that's unsurprising; the MTA is obviously not going to disagree with a plan that calls for a private developer to spend $210 million on transit problems).
The report breaks down the improvements into 11 chunks, with six of those pieces relating to the Lexington Avenue subway. Improvements to subway access total $139 million. These improvements include better circulation on the currently dark and confusing mezzanine level, which exists beneath the Hyatt North and serves as subway riders' portal to Grand Central and the Times Square shuttle, as well as four new stair entrances from the mezzanine to the platform. At the platform level, there will be "column thinning modifications" to make more space.
Entrances to the subway located offsite at the Hyatt North and beneath 125 Park will also be improved. The Hyatt North will see more turnstiles and new stairs, while the entrance at 125 Park will also get new, wider stairs.
There will also be a brand new entrance directly from the street, located at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, that would replace the entrance that currently exists near the Strawberry store. The new entrance would connect with the existing underground passage way that connects the Mobil Building at 150 East 42nd Street to Grand Central; this passage would also be upgraded.
Non-subway related upgrades include a direct connection from the coming East Side Access to the shuttle and subway, a new entrance to the Shuttle train from One Vanderbilt, and a large centralized entrance hall at the base of the new tower. The most visible public improvement would be the closing of Vanderbilt avenue between Grand Central and One Vanderbilt to create a pedestrian plaza.
· SL Green details costs for Grand Central improvements [Capital]
· One Vanderbilt Comes with $200M of Subway Improvements [Curbed]
· Neighbors Suspicious of One Vanderbilt's Transit Improvements [Curbed]