Members of Manhattan's Community Board 4 expressed their anger and bewilderment last night over the Empire State Development Corporation's recent decision to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Farley Post Office's air rights. The discussion ended in the board moving to "write a letter of outrage" to the state. "I think we should be expressing outrage, yelling, kicking and screaming," one board member said. "Am I the only one who thinks so?" To which the other members replied, "No!" It was something like this, but with more people.
The ESDC is the state's real estate development arm and by issuing an RFP, they are trying to find a buyer for the post office's 1.5 million square feet of air rights, and then they will use the money to expand Penn Station into the post office. But members of Community Board 4 are now trying to get the state to step back and include the public in the decision making process. "Essentially, they're giving over the public discussion process over to the private corporations," one board member said. "This should be a public process not a private process."
The rights of the post office have been the subjects of other development proposals. At one point, it was proposed that an Amtrak Moynihan Station be built in the post office. Then the development company Related Companies proposed that the Borough of Manhattan Community College build a new campus in the area. The idea of a Moynihan train station is now dead but the drive to use the post office's air rights is very much alive.
The meeting was bolstered by the appearance of a member of Community Board 5, who came to make sure that an agreement between the bordering communities was made on what kind of action to take against the RFP. "An RFP is a little premature," the visitor said. "Let's actually think about what kind of f development we want."
The members of the board all thought that the issuing of an RFP left the public in the dark on the development plans, and by writing a letter of outrage they hoped that the state would slow the process down and take their advice. Another board member said, "In this case, we've got real estate gone mad." Gone mad, I say!
· Post Office Air Rights Sale Could Fund Penn Station Expansion [Curbed]
· All Farley Post Office coverage [Curbed]
· All Penn Station coverage [Curbed]