More about Underground spaces


 As we stated in the Real Estate Craziness article, one of the victims of the "mad dash to 2 Broadway" were the many underground offices and crew quarters that have been built over the years, only to be abandoned during the big move to 2 Broadway.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   IB Image

Exposed: The MTA's Untapped Real Estate Resource

When the MTA headquarters building at 370 Jay Street was 95% emptied in 2005 (during the mad dash to occupy and justify 2 Broadway), let’s not forget that the 130 Livingston building – just a few blocks away in downtown Brooklyn -- was also emptied of at least 60-70% of its personnel. This 60-70% represents 275-320,000 sq ft. of prime office space that is not being utilized.

In the rush to occupy 2 Broadway and justify its titanic lease payments, hundreds of thousands of square feet of real estate the MTA owned was abandoned. Our original argument was that the MTA could save the $2.3 billion that remained on the lease of 2 Broadway by moving out and subleasing the space. The way we originally proposed to do this was to restore 370 Jay Street and utilize that space, and move back into the 130 Livingston Plaza space that had been abandoned.

Now that it appears we are losing 370 Jay Street, has our argument changed? No, it has not! Our original concept remains the same. There are other places to go for the MTA. Even if Jay Street is no longer on the table with its 540,000 sq. ft., we have found that much space and more! Time to revisit our underground spaces story!

MTA -- Not So Fast!

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen tells the MTA Board what's wrong with the giveaway of 370 Jay:

NYU President John Sexton high fiving after the deal went through
NYU President John Sexton high fiving after the deal went through

After the NYU-Bloomberg-MTA Love Fest

By now everyone has read of the Mayors quickie press conference to give away the 370 Jay street Building to NYU. On April 23, the mayor had a rushed press conference that all of the local media were somehow invited to. He rolled out all the stops and had quite a cast in his little show. He had Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; City Council speaker Christine Quinn; NYC Transit President Prendergast; State Senator Dan Squadron; NYU President John Sexton;  Senator Charles Schumer, etc., all patting themselves on the back, congratulating each other and talking about what a great deal this is for the people of the city of New York.    

         IB Image                                                                                                                                                                                                         But let’s take a look at what really happened here...                                                                          `               

What a Mess, in what COULD be productive office space.
What a Mess, in what COULD be productive office space.

Real Estate Craziness: The 2 Broadway story

Recently, the MTA lost out on an opportunity to SAVE almost 2.3 billion dollars, thus avoiding MTA service cuts and preserving the fare. Why would the MTA do this? To understand this topic, we must delve into the the 2 Broadway story and the VERY strange and slimy world of MTA real estate. Read on. 


IB ImageThis story was written before the April 25 2012 vote by the MTA board to give away 370 Jay St, a very valuable public asset. We are leaving the story up to remind everyone of the clueless way in which the MTA wastes money.                                                             370 Jay Street is an office building that the MTA leases from the city for a dollar a year. That's right, ONE DOLLAR! Right now it is the site of a massive misinformation campaign by the MTA and much of the New York media. The building is supposed to be "deteriorated" and "an eyesore." The facts are quite different....

Another reason not to sell the 370 Jay Street building

 This story was written before the April 25 2012 MTA board vote to give away the 370 Jay St building, a very valuable public asset. We have left this story up as a reminder of the clueless way in which the MTA wastes money.                                                                                                                                                                                          When the Building at 370 Jay Street was built in 1950, it was "custom built" to be the "Transportation Building". Because of this there are many interesting features built into the design of the building. For example...most people don't know that the majority of the first and second floor, and even a few of the subfloors, of the building are a huge revenue collection facility! This is evidenced by two huge garage doors facing Willoughby Street. This outside entrance is for armored trucks to drop off revenue that must be collected at street level. But underneath the building there are many special tunnels that were built for...the MONEY TRAIN! Yes, that's right! The infamous "money train!"  

IB Image                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

MTA Real Estate for Sale?

After reading a few of these stories it becomes obvious that the MTA's real estate plan is completely out of control. They routinely rent or lease spaces, from private entities, that they don't need. At the same time they have hundreds of thousands of square feet that they own, that are not used, abandoned and left to fall into neglect. This plan may be good for the private real estate entities that rent to the MTA but it is a disaster for the riders and taxpayers that must foot the bill.                                                                                         IB Image