How to Steal Money from Manhattan, with Columbia's Pro-Biz Think Tank

The Center for Urban Real Estate of the Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation sounds like such a refined academic institution! But apparently it’s pretty much the Heritage Foundation of land use. The direct of the “Center” (funded in part by your developing friends at the Durst Organization!) is a former executive vice president at your friendly local developer the Related Companies, where he still consults. (Just to pick one: guess who’s responsible for the disgusting Gwathmey building on Astor Place? Yes.) And so this oh-so-objective piece in the Times on the Center and, I paraphrase, “wouldn’t it be hilarious if they connected Governors Island to Manhattan with a landfill bridge” and “wouldn’t it be neat if they rezoned to basically do away with the guiding principles of air rights in Manhattan,” is an exceptional launching pad for the Center’s pro-developer “ideas.” All this is cast as how it would make the City money. (Landfilling around Governors Island would “generate $16.7 billion in revenue for the city” over 20 to 30 years is their claim.) This would be the next Westway if it wasn’t pretty much obviously untenable. Points for dreaming big (business) though!

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