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MTA Seeks Proposals For Seven Sites, But Not the “Low Line”

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19 East Houston Street. Image via Google Maps.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority and the NYC Economic Development Corp. have issued a “request for proposals” (RFP’s) for seven sites that the “MTA no longer requires for the transit network.”  The properties include 19 East Houston Street in Soho, which is a 6,000 square foot lot available for “purchase and possible redevelopment.”

Not on the list: the Essex Street Trolley Terminal, better known these days as “The Low Line.”   By the end of the year, the MTA is expected to issue an RFP for the 60,000 square foot space under Delancey Street, which is being eyed as a grand subterranean park.  The site is featured on a list of MTA real estate holdings it hopes to sell (that list was made public last fall).  Like many other MTA holdings, the Lower East Side trolley terminal is actually owned by New York City Transit (the MTA possesses a master lease.)

“Given the current financial picture facing the MTA, we have an imperative,” MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota said in a press release. “We must do anything and everything we can to raise revenue and reduce costs in order to minimize the need to turn to fares, tolls and taxes. Our real estate department is pursuing that imperative by thoroughly reviewing our real estate holdings and identifying properties that we could potentially offer for sale or lease.”

MTA officials have suggested that the Delancey Street RFP will not be issued until the city completes the approval process for the Seward Park Development Project (it just got underway this week and won’t be wrapped up until October).  Multiple bids are expected for the trolley terminal, which is one reason why “Low Line” co-founders Dan Barasch and James Ramsey are placing a heavy-emphasis on garnering community support for an underground park.


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