Four More Years! But for What? Experts Opine on Economic Development Through ’13

Institutional Knowledge
With the financial sector looking more feeble than once thought, many a planner has recently called for City Hall to light a fire in the institutional sector, growing hospitals and colleges around the five boroughs.

“Institutions will be a major source of growth in the coming years,” said Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the real estate development program at Columbia University and a former City Planning official. “We should do whatever we can to support the expansion of our medical, cultural and educational institutions.”

Governors Island, anyone?

West Side, Revisited
The Bloomberg administration spent much of its first four years planning a new future for the far West Side, envisioning a plethora of office and apartment towers. The development isn’t going anywhere until the economy recovers, particularly over the 26-acre rail yards, which would need two platforms, costing more than $900 million, just to be able to start building. There has long been a suggestion that the government build the platforms, then parcel out the development à la Battery Park City. (The Related Companies is the rail yards’ conditionally designated developer.)

“If you look at Battery Park City, the landfill was done,” said Barry Gosin, CEO of real estate brokerage Newmark Knight Frank, “Then, over time, it was developed.”

“Nobody’s going to build all at once anyway,” he said of the rail yards, espousing a government-funded platform.

Then there’s the Javits Center, currently undergoing a $460 million renovation. Dropped, at least for now, is talk of what to do long term with the convention center, which is far smaller than the event halls in other major American cities.

Among others, Mr. Chakrabarti, who once worked to expand Javits in its current space, said it should be relocated, using the value of its waterfront land to finance a move.
ebrown@observer.com


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