Gary Barnett on Other West Side Rail Yard Bids: 'They're Flawed'

I understand you met with Governor Spitzer—it was in his public schedule—to propose moving the Javits Center to the West Side rail yards. How was that received?

I am not going to comment on any meetings we may or may not have had with the governor. But we had proposed in the past some alternative proposals—a lot of people thought it was good. The city did not care for the proposal, so as of this date, it’s gone nowhere.

What do you think about the general plans for the Javits Center? Do you think they’re going to do anything at this point?

I have no idea. I know about what I think should be done but no idea about what’s going to be done.

Would it be more cost-effective to move it to the rail yards?

Our plan had and has enormous merit, but it’s also unlikely to get done.

And that would open up the footprint there to development?

Clearly.

If the Javits Center just gets renovated and not expanded, would you still build a Javits hotel, which you’ve bid for?

Absolutely—we would love to build an architecturally distinct, superior hotel that would really be an add to the Javits Center. If they’re not going to get a great convention center, they at least they need a great convention hotel that will be a draw for conventioneers and other tourists.

What’s the status of the Riverside South development?

That’s going extraordinarily well. Basically we’re continuing and upgrading the development that’s gone on before us

The southernmost section—that would require city approvals. At what point will that proceed?

We are working with City Planning, and are in discussions with elected officials and the community board, and we are hoping to start that process very shortly.

What do you think of the city’s land-use review process?

I think that we, as well as other developers, have found it to be a reasonable process. We would all hope it went much quicker, there’s no question about that.