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Pair of renovation projects around Grand Central creates bottlenecks

Rush hour commuters have had to deal with the MTA working in partnership with SL Green, as well as a Tishman Speyer project

Several exits at the Grand Central 42nd Street station have been walled off recently. And while the construction is causing bottlenecks at the remaining stairwells, it is ultimately part of a $210 million plan to ease congestion throughout the subway and train depot. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is doing the work in partnership with real estate firm SL Green, which agreed to foot the bill in exchange for permission to construct a 1,400-foot office building, 1 Vanderbilt, just west of Grand Central Terminal.

Complicating every rush hour crush, however, is a separate project by developer Tishman Speyer. The firm owns the Chrysler Building, and blocked off a passage leading to the iconic tower just as the station improvements began. Tishman is repairing water damage, and expects to be done by the end of the month, a spokeswoman said.

While the job is unrelated to the station improvements, commuters might have a hard time seeing it. Tishman’s work site is barricaded with a blue wall virtually identical to the blockades being used by the MTA and SL Green just inches away. Late last week, however, after inquiries from Crain’s, the transit authority had affixed a new sign to Tishman’s wall letting straphangers know: This time, don’t blame us.

A version of this article appears in the November 20, 2017, print issue of Crain’s New York Business as “Blue in the face”.

Photo: Buck Ennis

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