Sunday, November 30, 2008

Redevelopment of GWB bus terminal moving forward


As reported recently in both the New York Times and the Manhattan Times, the plans for major redevelopment of the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal are moving forward.  Apparently the dismal economy hasn't been enough the spook the developers, though it has thankfully convinced them to abandon their plans for one or more big box retailers on the site.  

The redevelopment will move the bus operations to a new indoor space on what is now the roof of the landmark facility.    That will create enough room on the lower levels for over 200,000 sq. ft. of retail, including new space to be opened up in the portion of the complex which is on the east side of Broadway.  

The developer, P/A Associates, offers some early details and images on their plans on their website.   But many questions still remain, including:
  • How will the massive $150 million, 36-month construction process impact the surrounding neighborhood?   The developer will need to do everything possible to minimize noise, street closures, etc.
  • Will the Port Authority incorporate green technology into the new bus facility?  This should include mechanisms to prevent diesel fumes from exiting to the street, and also provide for inside parking of MTA buses so these vehicles don't have to continue to idle on 179th St. 
  • Will the developer give guarantees to hire locally for construction and permanent jobs?
  • How will the problems of traffic and parking be handled for the new facility?  (200 existing parking spots on the roof of the bus station will be lost.)
  • What kind of businesses will be located in the newly renovated facility?  My informal poll shows that a book store is the number one request!
The answers to these questions will help determine whether or not this project is a boon or a bust for Washington Heights, and we should make sure the Port Authority answers them quickly.    Do you have another question about this project?   Let me know...

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