Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Permanent railyard delayed again; developer in 2015 told MTA of a 16-month delay past 2017 (but didn't tell us)

Perhaps this issue will be discussed at tonight's Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting.

So when is the permanent Vanderbilt Yard supposed to be done?

The timetable for such work has changed several times and now, because of a delay that was not disclosed to the public (but was disclosed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority), the full railyard, to store and service Long Island Rail Road trains, won't be done until the end of 2018, or possibly April 2019.

The sequence
In April 2014, developer Forest City Ratner sought an extension to 12/1/17, and that was approved by MTA two months later.

June 2014 timetable
That decision came after the developer in June 2014 issued the timetable at right, which indicated that the West Portal work, part of the project, would be done by February 2016. (The chart didn't address the permanent railyard.)

As of an Oct 2015 presentation by the developer (below), the tentative completion dates were as follows:
  • West Portal - July 2017 
  • East Portal - Sept. 2017 
  • Yard Completion - Dec. 2017 
At that time, I wrote about how the developer had obfuscated the delay to 2017.
    Oct. 2015 presentation
    Updating the timetable to 2018 or later
    During a conference call last month with investment analysts, Forest City executives disclosed, casually, that the railyard wouldn't be done until the fourth quarter of this year.

    In other word, it was delayed again. How did this come about?

    In a disclosure last month buried in a Form 10-K Annual Report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Forest City Realty Trust stated:
    More specifically, our agreement with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (“MTA”) requires collateral to be posted and for the construction of the permanent rail yard to be substantially complete by December 2017, subject to force majeure. In 2015, we notified the MTA of a force majeure delay of approximately 16 months, due to unforeseen site conditions.
    (Emphasis added)

    In other words, it could stretch through to April 2019. Why didn't they tell us earlier that it could last that long?

    (Also note another disclosure in the annual report: Forest City will have only one seat on the board managing the joint venture.)

    Pending questions
    Seeking more information, I queried the developer, Empire State Development (which oversees the project), and the MTA. I haven't heard back from any of them.

    But the natural questions include:
    • when in 2015 the MTA was informed of that delay 
    • why the public wasn't told 
    • whether a new deadline had to be approved or whether extension was automatic 
    • the current timetable/deadline is for Yard Completion (as well as West Portal and East Portal) 
    • to what extent that affects service (likely the MTA is unperturbed, since East Side Access, for which updated Vanderbilt Yard service is key, has been delayed until 2023) 
    This is not the first time the public hasn't gotten the full truth.

    Comments