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Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor in Contention Over Plans for Mega-Projects

Street of residential houses
Mayor Bill de Blasio might have a plan to build a mega-project over a 180-acre rail yard in New York City, but Governor Andrew has other ideas.

In his State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio called for a platform to be built over the Sunnyside Yards — a 180-acre train yard in Queens — which would hold 11,250 new affordable apartments.

“That’s enough housing for over 30,000 hardworking New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio during his speech. “It will be a game changer.”

However, Governor Cuomo had other ideas, saying that New York and the MTA are considering potential uses for the sprawling rail yard from a long term planning perspective. Namely, a convention center.

“There have been a number of uses proposed,” Governor Cuomo told NY1. “One of them is to make that a convention center site to supplement the Javits convention center, which is on the west side of Manhattan, or replace the Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan. And that’s one of the possibilities that is being studied, along with several other possible scenarios.”

The thing is, Governor Cuomo’s ideas are about as likely to work as Mayor de Blasio’s — because the plan is complicated and expensive and the rail yard is not exactly construction-ready. With a perimeter of almost two miles, the rail yard is surrounded by elaborate fences and intersected with a number of bridges.

No matter which mega-project is ultimately built on the Sunnyside Yards, it will surely improve both the city and the state’s economy. For example, the new project would likely get a large part of the the U.S. fence industry revenue, which happens to be estimated at about $51 billion per year.

As for whether or not any project will even get the go-ahead to begin development, a feasibility study must be done; the city plans on conducting the study to gauge the costs and infrastructure required to redevelop the rail yards.

“As the Mayor indicated in his address, our feasibility study will constitute an exhaustive process undertaken with local stakeholders to activate the Sunnyside Yards while continuing their role as a vital link in the region’s rail system,” said de Blasio’s spokesman Wiley Norvell in a statement. “We have engaged the MTA and Amtrak to ensure that any development prioritizes their transit operations.”