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Gov. Cuomo Wants To Take Control Of The Real Estate Around Penn Station

Penn Station in Manhattan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing a proposal that would let the state handle redevelopment of several blocks around Penn Station.

He raised the plan late in legislative negotiations over the latest state budget, the New York Times reports.

The proposal would allow for the Empire State Development Corp. to work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to control and redevelop the blocks that are around the station. The draft of the proposal is dated Tuesday, which is less than a week from the budget deadline, according to the Times, which obtained the document.

Under the proposal, the partnership would not be subject to several zoning, environmental and land-use laws. It would allow the state to guide development of massive towers — replacing the substantial ones already there, largely owned by landlord Vornado — and use the resulting tax revenue increases to fund infrastructure improvements, which Penn Station desperately needs.

Following a negative reaction from Democrats in Albany and from city leaders, the governor stressed Wednesday that the plan is still only in draft form.

“Penn Station is currently untenable. It is congested, chaotic and poses a serious threat to public safety in this time of heightened terrorist threats,” Cuomo Press Secretary Dani Lever told the Times.

The proposal, which she said is lawful, would include “consultation with community leaders and elected officials, environmental reviews and local government reviews.”

New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the proposal was “beyond the pale,” adding that she was concerned about the environmental review and the possible loss of tax revenue from buildings.

“It completely erases any role for the city, local officials or the surrounding community,” she said.