For those of us who attended the annual ULI Fall Meeting that occurred in New York City this October, there were plenty of value capture stories floating around the Javits Center that perked our ears.
For one, the conference took place next to the construction site of Hudson Yards. A public-private partnership coordinated by the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, the project's unprecedented scope and scale (the developer's description is much more compelling) is made possible by an extension of the MTA's 7 Subway line from Times Square to the heart of the development area. In addition to building on-site public amenities, the developers are paying for the air rights over the MTA West Side Rail Yards. It's well worth a visit.
Comparisons between Hudson Yards and value capture opportunities across the U.S. were frequently made by ULI session panelists. In one newsworthy instance, the head of Amtrak discussed opportunities to monetize their real estate assets along the Northeast Corridor in the same manner as Hudson Yards and Atlantic Yards in New York.
“We own a ton of real estate assets, and they’re all in center-city areas in very active, vibrant places where development is a true opportunity,” Coscia said at the conference. Selling or leasing sites “would have the benefit of helping urban development in places where we have a very significant service area, but equally a financial value to Amtrak, because we could monetize real estate assets.”
Amtrak is undertaking feasibility assessments through the first part of 2015. It will be interesting to see how many markets can support the level of infrastructure required to build over active rail yards.
Ian Carlton is a transportation and land use expert specializing in transit-oriented development (TOD). He helps clients - including transit agencies, planning departments, and landowners - optimize real estate development around transit.
Special thanks to Burt Gregory at Mithun for permission to use the Portland Streetcar image above.