Lawmakers push for affordable housing at former Hotel Pennsylvania site

The former Hotel Pennsylvania site in midtown Manhattan has become the center of a heated debate. While developers are proposing tennis courts to host events like the U.S. Open, some lawmakers argue that amidst the city's housing crisis, the site is prime for affordable housing.

Edric Robinson

Mar 7, 2024, 9:14 PM

Updated 45 days ago

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The former Hotel Pennsylvania site in midtown Manhattan has become the center of a heated debate. While developers are proposing tennis courts to host events like the U.S. Open, some lawmakers argue that amidst the city's housing crisis, the site is prime for affordable housing.
"Instead of tennis courts and a playground for the rich, we should build affordable housing," said Assembly Member Tony Simone, standing right outside the lot on West 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue.
Simone is among those advocating for more housing to address the city’s pressing need for increased living options, especially for the working class.
“People are not leaving New York City and New York state as some of the well-to-do would tell you because of taxes. It’s affordability. They can’t afford to pay the rent, they can’t own homes,” said Simone.
The site, once home to the iconic Hotel Pennsylvania, sits directly across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. Owned by developer Vornado Trust Realty, the property faced setbacks due to a commercial real estate slump. Vornado is proposing a multiuse immersive space for various events, but Simone highlights that the area's designation under a state general project plan allows for greater control over development.
“I think Vornado could step up work with the governor's office, my office and my West Side electeds. We’re all in unison,” said Simone.
In response, Vornado told News 12 NY, “We are currently considering a number of potential interim options for the Hotel Pennsylvania site. The renderings in the presentation are for conceptual purposes.”
A spokesperson with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said, “Governor Hochul has been pushing forward for years on proposals to build, preserve, and incentivize new housing – including at Penn Station and in the surrounding neighborhood. The Governor understands the dire need for housing on this site, which is why she updated the initial project plan to include 1,800 units of housing including permanently affordable and supportive housing units, and she will continue to push for bold solutions like those in her Executive Budget to ensure that New Yorkers get the housing they deserve.”
Despite financial hurdles, Simone believes that decisions should prioritize the city's well-being.
"We have to do what's good for our city, our citizens, and our residents," he said.


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