Tishman Speyer, M.T.A. Call Off West Side Rail Yards Wedding

tishmanspeyeryards 3 Tishman Speyer, M.T.A. Call Off West Side Rail Yards WeddingThe deal for billions of dollars worth of development over the West Side rail yards collapsed Thursday afternoon, with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Tishman Speyer hitting an impasse in negotiations. The failure to reach a deal came more than five weeks after the M.T.A. announced Tishman Speyer as the winner of the development rights, after a months-long bidding contest between six of the city’s largest development firms.

According to a statement from the M.T.A., the failure to complete the deal came as Tishman Speyer refused to close on the agreement for the eastern half of the rail yards until the western half was rezoned, a process that could easily take until late 2009, if not 2010. The accord reached in late March held that Tishman would close on the eastern half; then, after the western half was rezoned, they would close the deal on that section, completing the deal. The total deal was estimated to bring the M.T.A. about $1 billion from Tishman.

The collapse in talks came one day after the M.T.A. passed a self-imposed seven-day deadline to finish negotiations and sign a conditional letter of designation, a document that was not signed when Tishman won the bidding. Officials said at the time of that announcement, in late March, that they were highly confident a final deal would be reached, characterizing the designation letter as something of a formality.

From M.T.A. spokesman Jeremy Soffin:

Late this afternoon, negotiations between the MTA and Tishman Speyer over the development of the Rail Yards on Manhattan’s Far West Side reached an impasse. The cause of the impasse was Tishman Speyer’s attempt to change a central deal term in an effort to postpone the closing on the Eastern Yard until the Western Yard was satisfactorily re-zoned. This demand changed the economics of the proposed deals and the certainty of payments to the MTA. The MTA remains committed to developing these unique and very valuable parcels of land.

Unclear is what the next step is from here. The M.T.A. could conceivably go back to the other bidders—a team of the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust had a bid within about $40 million of Tishman’s—though presumably the bids would be lowered should Tishman’s $1 billion bid be out of the picture.

A spokesman for the Durst Organization, Jordan Barowitz, said, “This is an extremely important project to the city, and it’s imperative that the M.T.A. figure out a way to get it done.”

Tishman Speyer’s statement seemed to leave hope that the firm was still at the table, and could reach a deal. From spokesman Robert Lawson:

This is a highly complicated deal and we have been negotiating in good faith with the MTA for several weeks. We share the same goal as the MTA and the City to transform Hudson Yards into a successful and vibrant community. We still hope to be able to complete this deal and reach an agreement that satisfies the needs of everyone.
Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President