Continuing the discussion from NEW YORK | Midtown East - Vanderbilt Avenue Rezoning:
ANDREW J. HAWKINS
SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 12:09 P.M.
Three new staircases to the subway platforms, two new street-level entrances and a refurbished mezzanine level, including the opening up a series of enclosed spaces to create new hallways, plus a 4,000-square-foot ground-level “waiting area” for commuters: All that and more is being promised by developer SL Green as part of its planned five-year, $210 million effort to give Grand Central’s subway station a significant upgrade.
What’s more, all of that must be completed before tenants will be allowed to occupy the developer’s new 1 Vanderbilt, the 65-story office tower planned for an entire city block just west of Grand Central, north of East 42nd Street. The transit improvements were hammered out with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the de Blasio administration earlier this year as the first piece in the massive midtown east rezoning project.
The most significant changes will be made to the Lexington Avenue line station, which currently sees an average of 154,000 riders per day and is the second-busiest station in the system. New staircases will be added to the northbound and southbound ends of the 4/5/6 platform, bringing the total number of mezzanine-to-platform staircases to five. In addition, all the staircases will be narrowed, as will the columns adjacent to the staircases, to allow an easier pedestrian traffic flow from end to end of the platform. New turnstiles and a raised platform will be added to the north end of the mezzanine that will connect to the street-level staircases.
The hope is that with the improvements, the MTA will be able to run at least one additional train along the Lexington Avenue line per hour, or an average of 1,100 additional riders, to relieve congestion.
After the land-use review process is over, SL Green plans to begin construction on both 1 Vanderbilt and the transit improvements concurrently. But the bottom line for the developer is that everything will need to be completed—all the staircases, hallways, new turnstiles and mezzanine improvements—before any tenants will be allowed to occupy their new building in January 2020, the expected completion date.
“We’re responsible for cost overruns, we’re responsible for construction oversight,” Mr. Schiffer said. “It’s our project to build, not the MTA’s.”