New York Grand Central Terminal owner sues city over air-rights blocked by new skyscraper

29 September 2015 (Last Updated September 29th, 2015 18:30)

Owner of the Grand Central Terminal in New York, US Andrew Penson has filed a $1.13bn lawsuit against city authorities claiming that a planned skyscraper development is likely to deprive him of his air rights, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Owner of the Grand Central Terminal in New York, US Andrew Penson has filed a $1.13bn lawsuit against city authorities claiming that a planned skyscraper development is likely to deprive him of his air rights, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The proposed skyscraper One Vanderbilt has been designed to be taller than the Empire State Building, and the plans have been approved.

According to Penson, granting approval is illegal as it deprives him of his rights, so he is seeking $1.13bn from the city and $475m from the tower developer, SL Green Realty.

"We are already hard at work delivering on those commitments and won't be sidetracked by frivolous litigation."

The lawsuit has been filed against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the City Council, and SL Green Realty in the Manhattan federal court.

Penson's Midtown TDR Ventures firm purchased the rail terminal in 2006.

The landmark terminal is 102 years old and accompanied by specific 'transferable development rights' or 'air rights'.

Higher returns for the upper floors can raise the value of such rights, making them even more important than the land itself.

Development of the 1,400ft tall tower gained support from the city authorities due to the commitment to add office space and improve commuting in the area.

SL Green outside spokesman Jonathan Rosen was quoted by Reuters as saying: "We are already hard at work delivering on those commitments and won't be sidetracked by frivolous litigation."