Here's a PR stunt if there ever was one: the rather inconspicuous owner of Grand Central Terminal has offered developer SL Green $400 million to take over the site, just west of the station at Vanderbilt Avenue and 42nd Street, of the 1,400-foot-tall tower they plan to build there. As part of a micro-rezoning, SL Green earned permission from the city to make One Vanderbilt about twice as big as it could be ordinarily in exchange for making $210 million in transit and infrastructure improvements to the commuter-packed areaboth above and underground. But for Andrew Penson, who is apparently in a long-standing feud with SL Green, that's not enough. He claims he can build the skyscraper himself. And even though there is approximately zero chance SL Green will sell, Penson says the company's refusal will draw more attention to the fact that the public is getting ripped off in the SL Green-city swap.
Worth noting: Penson himself probably feels he is getting ripped off, given that he owns the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of air rights over Grand Central. SL Green negotiated directly with the city to build bigger, so it didn't have to buy them off him. Ay, there's the rub. To be fair, some neighbors are also dubious of the proposed megatower's effect on the area, but Penson has a distinct monetary interest at stake given the rights he holds.
As SL Green told the Times, Penson's move can be dismissed as a "publicity stunt from an individual with a long history of litigation and obstruction of major projects."
· Owner of Grand Central Vies With Developer Over Skyscraper on an Adjacent Block [NYT]
· One Vanderbilt Comes with $200M of Subway Improvements [Curbed]
· All One Vanderbilt coverage [Curbed]