While we are all hunkering down and trying to stay safe from COVID-19, we wanted to bring our readers a non-eminent domain newsbreak.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is probably better known as the MTA, has closed on its purchase of Grand Central Terminal in New York City from Midtown Trackage Ventures LLC.
The deal includes the Harlem Line and Hudson Line and marks the first time the MTA has owned the tracks and the terminal. Midtown Trackage Ventures is a private group that brought them from PennCentral Transportation, the railroad whose 1970’s bankruptcy and liquidation led the MTA to assume management of regional rail operations.
The purchase ends MTA's 280-year lease of Grand Central and gives Metro-North control of its operating environment. Owning the properties means that for the first time, Metro-North Railroad will have unencumbered control and responsibility of its operating environment.
In 1994, the MTA signed the Grand Central lease with American Premier Underwriters, which sold the ownership rights to Midtown Trackage Ventures in the early 2000s. According to the MTA, Metro-North had been paying $2.4 million each year to use the property.
In 2018, the MTA announced that it would buy the station and the Hudson and Harlem lines for $35 million. The interest rate environment, along with a discount offered by the seller, meant it was a better deal for the MTA to buy the terminal rather than continue to rent. That’s according to Janno Lieber, MTA Chief Development Officer.
"This transaction secures for the MTA control over development rights along the Harlem Line and Hudson Line, which will allow us to help local jurisdictions implement high quality transit-oriented development for generations to come," Lieber said.
Now with ridership down, it’s probably an even better deal not to be renting.