by Laura Matiz
Earlier I wrote about the changing NYC skyline, but possibly more monumental changes on the Manhattan island are occurring underground with three major transit construction projects underway that are sure to make a significant impact on nearby businesses and real estate. The three construction projects are the LIRR East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway, and the 7 Line West Side Extension. Read on for quick summaries of each.
No. 7 Subway West Side Extension - mid-year 2015
The 7 line extension will push the subway system far into the west side, serving the outer regions of 11th Avenue and Hell's Kitchen. While the original plan intended to add two stations, the one on 10th Avenue and 42nd Street was scrubbed due to cost overruns and community opposition. Of course, adding that station at a later time will be unforgivably expensive and likely to never happen. The remaining station on 34th Street and 11th Avenue will provide subway access to the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center, an outpost that seemed on another island due to its inaccessibility via mass transit. The Hudson Yards, as the new station will also be known, is projected to be the first major station added to the system in 25 years and the MTA expects it to serve 200,000 riders per day. It is also expected to transform the area, revitalizing a neglected slice of Manhattan that will be built up with a dozen new skyscrapers and a new park.
[Editor's update, 9/12/2015: The MTA has announced that the 7-line extension will open this Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 1P.M.]
Second Avenue Subway - Phase I, December 2016
The Second Avenue Subway, extending from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in lower Manhattan, is split into four construction phases with an expected completion date of 2029. This may be ambitious, given that the two latter phases have no funding commitments yet. The first phase, scheduled to open in December 2016, will start at 96th street and connect with the existing Lexington and 63rd Station. Many Upper East Siders, I'm sure, are looking forward to the end of the disruption caused by the construction along Second Avenue.
LIRR East Side Access - completion date, 2023
Long Island Railroad commuters will have an alternate terminal at Grand Central Station starting in 2023. The oft-delayed and over-budget terminal will add considerable convenience to an expected 160,000 commuters who will not have to travel to Penn Station only to double back to the east side. The new terminal is sure to change midtown businesses, but may also add to the already crowded Lexington subway line. The GCT terminal will also provide easier access for East Siders to the AirTrain to JFK Airport at Jamaica Station.
While these construction projects are mostly happening underground and out of sight, once completed, these new transit options will offer many new possibilities and opportunities for surrounding businesses. They are also likely to affect real estate values, especially in areas greatly improved by the new connections to the transit system.