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One Vanderbilt Back on Track After Grand Central Owner Withdraws Lawsuit

By Noah Hurowitz | August 11, 2016 5:54pm
 The settlement of a lawsuit has cleared the way for a 1,401-foot skyscraper to rise next to Grand Central Terminal.
The settlement of a lawsuit has cleared the way for a 1,401-foot skyscraper to rise next to Grand Central Terminal.
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Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

MIDTOWN — A settlement between two Midtown real-estate titans has cleared a major roadblock in the construction of a new 65-story skyscraper next to Grand Central Terminal, according to a statement from the skyscraper’s developer.

Grand Central Terminal owner Midtown TDR Ventures on Wednesday withdrew a $1.1 billion lawsuit against SL Green Realty Corp, the City Council, and the de Blasio administration, effectively paving the way for SL Green to continue with its plans for a 1,401-foot tower next to the terminal, according to the developer.

The lawsuit sought to block construction of the tower, dubbed One Vanderbilt, made financing the project difficult and could've affected its ability to attract tenants, according to the New York Times, which first reported the settlement.

With demolition of several buildings around Grand Central complete, SL Green is eager to get the ball rolling once again, according to CEO Marc Holliday.

“This is a major milestone for the future of East Midtown,” Holliday said in the statement. “With demolition nearly complete and work already underway on public improvements, One Vanderbilt is well on the way to becoming a reality.”

SL Green would not provide the exact sum it paid Midtown TDR Ventures but a representative called it "de minimis," or minor.

The feud between the two firms dates back several years to when SL Green initially tried to buy development rights owned by TDR Ventures that would have allowed them to build the tower higher than zoning allowed.

But that deal foundered when the de Blasio administration agreed to rezone a section of the Vanderbilt Corridor in exchange for more than $200 million in transportation improvements, according to a spokeswoman for SL Green.

That provoked the ire of TDR founder Andrew Penson, who claimed that the deal stripped TDR of its property rights by giving SL Green the air rights it otherwise would have had to buy from TDR, the Times reported.

TDR filed the lawsuit last September, tying up SL Green in the middle of demolishing buildings to make way for One Vanderbilt. But after a recent shakeup at the top of TDR Ventures, the new leadership backed away from the lawsuit, although it did retain its right to refile the suit in the future, according to the Times.