Community Group to MTA: Show Us the Money Behind Rail Yard Bids

The Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee, a community group that includes numerous elected officials, is pushing for a series of changes in the process of developing the West Side rail yards, critiquing the density, amount of affordable housing, and the design guidelines for the 26-acre site.

Anna Levin, chairwoman of the HYCAC, sent a letter yesterday to MTA executive director Elliot “Lee” Sander, outlining 13 points of criticism.

Among them, the letter asked the MTA to toss aside some of the restrictions from the design guidelines, for which HYCAC played a role in crafting, and to introduce the street grid in the two superblocks. The design guidelines, which many of the architects said they found restricting, led to the similar looks of the proposals from the Related Companies, Durst Organization/Vornado Realty Trust, and Tishman Speyer (Brookfield Properties and Extell Development opted not to follow the guidelines).

The group also asked the MTA to release the financials of the bids, as to date the state has allowed the public to see only the designs, which ultimately could play less of a role in the final decision than the potential state revenues.