MLB and Vornado Want Subsidies in Harlem; Anti-Subsidy Group Doesn’t

The city’s Industrial Development Authority had a hearing this morning on a request for subsides at Vornado Realty Trust’s planned Harlem Park development on 125th Street, which would be home to Major League Baseball’s new television network.

Vornado is contending that it needs $7.8 million or so in tax breaks in order to complete the office and retail project, saying in its application to the IDA that the project will benefit the city. MLB wants $2.23 million in breaks to take 132,000 square feet and be an anchor tenant in Vornado’s tower, saying the development will add scores of jobs.

The planned 21-story Swanke Hayden Connell-designed building of approximately 600,000 square feet would rise just west of the Metro North station on 125th Street. But, in its IDA application, Vornado says it would have to switch to building a development that would hold a large department store and 331 condos in order to make ends meet if it doesn’t get the subsidies to build the office and retail tower.

The watchdog Good Jobs New York was on hand to offer criticism of the use of the subsides.

“It’s not fair to assume the city needs to use tax breaks to lure MLB Enterprises considering the site has access to transportation facilities such as the subway and Metro North and easy access to other business and residential locations and Yankee Stadium and Citi Field,” Good Jobs executive director Bettina Damiani said in prepared testimony.

MLB and Vornado Want Subsidies in Harlem; Anti-Subsidy Group Doesn’t