MTA Offers Its Headquarters Site for Lease
In a move that is expected to generate significant revenue for its capital program, the MTA will vacate its headquarters buildings in Midtown Manhattan by the end of next year and award a long-term lease to a developer expected to demolish the buildings and redevelop the premier location with modern Class A offices, a hotel, residential tower, or a mixture of uses.
The buildings, 341, 345, and 347 Madison Avenue, occupy a full block front between 44th and 45th Streets. On June 25, 2013, the MTA issued a request for proposals to the real estate development community seeking bids for the site. The bids are due August 14.
The decision to relinquish the site was announced in April 2011. It is part of a larger effort the MTA is undertaking that is projected to generate $600 million in cost savings or new revenues through reduction of office space and capture of maximum possible value from its real estate holdings. The effort includes a number of elements. Highlights include:
- The MTA has agreed to relinquish the former New York City Transit headquarters at 370 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn for use by New York University, saving the agency $184 million in renovation expenses.
- Following administrative staff reductions in 2010, by 2015 the MTA will have reduced its office space needs by 18% or 524,000 square feet.
- Working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the MTA is seeking or reviewing proposals from developers for eight properties in New York City that are owned by the City of New York and controlled by New York City Transit under a 1953 master lease agreement. Those sites include a triangular parking lot at Houston Street and Broadway in SoHo, and a former golf driving range at Gun Hill Road and the New England Thruway in the Bronx.
The 20-story beige brick and limestone tower at 347 Madison Avenue has been the headquarters of the MTA since the agency purchased the building in 1979. Originally known as the Equitable Trust Building after an early tenant, it was built in 1917 and is connected by an underground walkway to Grand Central Terminal. Developers will be required to continue the transit connection by including an entrance to the future Long Island Rail Road concourse being built underneath Grand Central as part of the East Side Access megaproject.
The adjacent buildings at 341 and 345 Madison were acquired by the agency in 1991. The MTA expects all three buildings to be demolished because they cannot be combined and have inefficient floor plates and redundant and antiquated building systems that have rendered them obsolete for office use.
The employees who currently work at the Madison Avenue buildings will move to other MTA offices. Staff of the MTA headquarters will move to 2 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, joining their colleagues in the building that already houses the headquarters of MTA New York City Transit, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and MTA Capital Construction. Employees of Metro-North Railroad will move to the Graybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue.