Port Authority OK's Skyscraper Over Bus Depot

Pretty soon, you too could work at the Port Authority Bus Terminal—in a cubicle many floors above the legendary hang-out, that is. The board of the bi-state agency on Wednesday unanimously voted to revive talks to sell the terminal’s air rights to Vornado Realty Trust and Lawrence Ruben Co. The two companies first agreed in 2000 to construct a 1.3-million-square-foot Class A office tower above the terminal’s north end. But, after Sept. 11, and before the parties agreed to a purchase price, negotiations sputtered, according to the Port Authority.

The Port Authority approached the developers recently, according to Chairman Anthony Coscia, as part of the agency’s review of improving, and maybe even eventually moving, the bus terminal—although in the short term, under the current scheme, bus operations would continue below, with 55,000 square feet of “enhanced retail and entertainment.”

“We think the midtown Manhattan office market is very strong right now,” Mr. Coscia said, “and whatever infrastructure needs are needed for building over the bus station, we think are financially viable.” If a deal isn’t struck in six months, the Port Authority could move on and put the air rights out to bid again.

The new building, by the way, is tentatively called “20X Square,” which is pronounced “20 Times Square.” The X is, perhaps, for nostalgia.