The Related Companies Finds Their Guy

The Related Companies, the company that won the right to develop the MTA’s Hudson Rail Yards, has announced the hiring of Jay Cross to run their development project. WIlliam Neuman of the New York Times City Room Blog filed this report:

You would think that anyone interested in developing the Hudson Yards on the West Side of Manhattan might want to avoid comparisons to the ill-fated proposal to build a stadium on the same site for the New York Jets, which fell apart three years ago.

Think again.

The Related Companies announced on Tuesday that it is hiring Jay Cross, one of the men most closely associated with the Jets’ stadium project, to run its Hudson Yards development.

Related signed a preliminary agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last month making it the designated developer of the railyards west of Midtown, a deal worth an estimated $1 billion to the authority. The two sides are expected to sign a final contract for the development later this year.

In July, Mr. Cross, who is currently president of the Jets, will take over Related’s development team for the 26-acre site, which sits on both sides of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets.

In a statement, Related’s chairman and chief executive, Stephen M. Ross, praised Mr. Cross’s familiarity with the railyards site, which is enormously complex. Mr. Cross led the stadium effort for the Jets.

Before new buildings can go up, the developer must build massive and costly platforms over the yards, even as Long Island Rail Road trains continue to operate on the tracks.
Related has proposed to build 12 million square feet of office towers, apartment buildings and parks on top of the platforms.

The Jets deal came apart in June 2005, when state legislative leaders refused to give it their support. It had long been a priority of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and its defeat was a heavy blow to his agenda.

The stadium had also featured prominently in the city’s proposal to host the 2012 Olympics; without it, the Olympics bid was severely weakened and ultimately failed.

Tom K. Wright, the executive director of the Regional Plan Association, which opposed the stadium project but supports the transportation authority’s development plans for the site, said that Mr. Cross was a good choice because he knows the area.

“I thought he was a very good spokesperson for the Jets, did a very good job of presenting it and in particular he never burned any bridges with anybody,” Mr. Wright said. “Even having debated him publicly and privately on it, it was always just about the issues. It was never personal. In many ways it makes enormous sense to snap him up.”

In signing on with Related Mr. Cross will join another alumnus of the stadium wars. Jay Kriegel, the former executive director of the Olympics bid, works for the developer as a senior adviser.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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