Jamie Torres Springer Weighs in on the Future of Midtown West at the MAS Summit

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Jamie discusses considerations involved to achieve a new Penn Station with Vishaan Chakrabarti of Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), and Kate Ascher of BuroHappold. Image courtesy of MAS/Giles Ashford.


On Thursday, October 22, HR&A Senior Principal Jamie Torres Springer joined Kate Ascher, Partner at BuroHappold, and Vishaan Chakrabarti, Founder and CEO of the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism, for a session at the two-day 2015 MAS Summit for New York City at the TimesCenter. Vishaan moderated the discussion, “Getting a New Penn and Gateway Build: Rails, Regs, and Resources,” with questions for Jamie and Kate about reimagining Midtown West—namely by rebuilding Penn Station and strengthening regional transit access. The speakers recognized the difficulty presented by the multiplicity of ownership rights and underscored the necessity of convening different political players to reach consensus on funding and placemaking and of representing competing stakeholder interests. The session addressed the potential benefits of an upgraded Penn Station area in relation to both the City’s brand and wider-reaching neighborhood- and district-level impacts, including expanded regional transit capacity.


With these benefits in mind, Jamie discussed the value capture made possible by higher rents and additional taxes accompanying from existing and new development stimulated by district infrastructure improvements. He deemed Midtown West, which currently underperforms relative to other Manhattan districts, a neighborhood with room for significant economic growth. Jamie referenced ongoing transit-oriented redevelopment in the U.S. and Canada to demonstrate the centrality of government as a funding source, comprising more than half of capital funds in most cases. The session, available for viewing courtesy of MAS, reflected one of the Summit’s priority discussion topics: grappling with possibilities for the future of Midtown West.