Argent Ventures has made an offer to buy out SL Green’s proposed office tower development at One Vanderbilt next to Grand Central Station in Manhattan for $400 Million.
But according to the New York Post the offer is nothing more than part of an effort to get paid more for the air rights above the station which it owns.
The Post points out that Argent has no prior experience in construction and that it certainly has no ability to complete the planned 65 story, 1400 foot tall, 1.6 million square foot office tower that SL green plans to build at One Vanderbilt. It thinks that this is just part of a plan on the part of Argent to get much more than it paid for Grand Central Station’s air rights, which it acquired back in 2006 for $79.3 million. Argent is now asking for as much as $520 million for the rights.
SL Green is itself skeptical of the offer, calling it nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Andrew Penson, owner of Argent Ventures, sees the offer differently. He, and many others, have been vocal in their criticism of New York City’s plans to grant SL Green an exemption to the area’s building limits so that it could build the new tower. The rezoning which would allow for a much taller and denser building on the site, has been granted fast track for approval by the New York City Council.
As Penson told the New York Times “We think their rejection would highlight the fact that the existing plan would be a massive giveaway.”
SL Green spokesman Jeremy Soffin cited his firm’s pledge to spend $210 million on a new entranceway to grand central and improvements to its platforms as part of its deal with the city for the rezoning.
He told the Times that One Vanderbilt would provide “an unprecedented private investment in the public realm.”
But Penson rejects the $210 million figure provided by SL Green. He says that his firm hired a consultant who determined that nowhere near that figure would be sent on improvements to public transportation.