MTA Wants Rail Yards Developer Designated By April 1

Rare in the world of government-administered mega-development projects, the West Side rail yards actually seem to be running on schedule (well, the schedule set late last year).

In documents sent late last month to the five teams vying to develop the yards, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s schedule indicated it wants a developer conditionally designated for each of the two yards (the eastern rail yards and the western rail yards, each 13 acres in size) by April 1, with the team (or teams) going into contract on the deal on Sept. 1, 2008.

A few other nuggets from the documents:

  • If one developer were selected for both rail yards, that firm would need to pay at least $95 million in various fees, including $6 million in participation fees; a $20 million deposit; $9.2 million to improve a Long Island Rail Road facility by Shea Stadium; and $50 million for a fund for maintenance of the “roof,” which seems to be what the MTA is calling the platform to be built over the yards.
  • The MTA is testing the waters for an equity stake in the development—something many in the community have urged—though based on the wording in the documents, it has not yet decided to do so. The agency has not yet asked developers to crunch numbers on what an equity stake would do, though the MTA has asked them to “generally indicate … your receptivity to an MTA equity participation type agreement.” The Times reported on the equity stake last week.