By George Capsis
In a bid to reshape midtown Manhattan, Governor Kathy Hochul and New York state officials are pushing ahead with one of the largest real estate development projects in American history. 10 towers of mostly offices around Penn Station, the busiest transit center in the country.
This project is reminiscent of Hudson Yards, and like Hudson Yards there are serious questions as to whether it will be a success.
The planners are betting that the city will continue to grow and inhabit office towers but the pandemic and the trend of working remotely has apparently made the office obsolete.
A casual visit to Hudson Yards reveals empty halls and expensive shops where a pair of shoes can cost from $450-$2,000, in what was supposed to be another Rockefeller Center, which was built in the 1930s.
The skyline of Manhattan has sprung some arbitrarily high office buildings but it is not ready to support another Rockefeller Center or Hudson Yards around Penn Station.
The pandemic sent everyone home to work remotely from their computers and even today many of those workers have not returned or only go into the office a few days a week.
It makes more sense to build large universities like Columbia and NYU where the human interchange is still valuable and desirable. My grandson Teddy walked out of college with a job selling cybersecurity and his girlfriend Gabriella is an account executive (sales) and they both are able to work remotely from their computers at home.
If the state is going to support a multibillion dollar project why not make that project something the city really needs like a leading hospital.
The cost to build a complex like this is a minimum of a $1.5 billion dollars but if it touches the leading edges of medical science it will attract the world’s population.