Moynihan Air Rights Rain Down

There are some 4.5 million square feet of development rights hanging around the Madison Square Garden superblock in the West 30s that would be freed up if the arena makes way for a gigantic Moynihan-Penn train station. Rather than putting two office towers there, each larger than the Time-Life building, the Empire State Development Corporation favors “sprinkling” those air rights around to other neighboring properties.

“It will mean less disruption to commuters, fewer financial risks, and it will tie the development around Moynihan Station to the demands of the market,” Patrick Foye, ESDC’s downstate chairman, said at a luncheon today before the New York Building Congress.

Mr. Foye, who is in charge of making a deal with Vornado Realty Trust and its partner, The Related Companies, for the project, said both the dispersed and the concentrated versions would be put forth in planning documents that will be released by the end of this year. (The New York Times reported in July that it would be done that month; Mr. Foye told The Observer in August he expected it finished in October.)

Asked after the event, Vishaan Chakrabarti, the project manager for the Vornado-Related partnership, would not comment, but Mr. Foye said the developers were on board. (It turns out Vornado controls much of the property on and around the superblock anyway.) Where the city, which would have to redo the zoning nearby, stands is less clear.