Preparing for next 100 years as GCT celebrates centennial

Steven Spinola

President, Real Estate Board of New York

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, the world’s largest train terminal, and a truly magnificent architectural gem and New York City icon. The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated GCT a NYC landmark in 1967.

Each day, more than 700,000 people pass through GCT, with 10,000 of those coming just for lunch. Commuters, travelers, shoppers and tourists have all contributed to making GCT the high-volume destination it is today.

It covers 49 acres—from 42nd Street to 97th Street—and encompasses 33 miles of track. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is to be commended for the Terminal’s success.

GCT has served as the catalyst for office development in and around the Grand Central area since its opening. The area’s concentration of transit connections led to its emergence as a major commercial center, replacing the churches and apartment buildings along Park Avenue.  GCT hastened the transformation of this late 19th Century New York neighborhood into the superior Midtown East office district.

That rapid development has been characterized by architectural historians as a process of continuous change that is the result of the extraordinary cluster of transit resources at its core.

These resources grew around GCT and will continue to grow with “East Side Access” now being constructed to bring the Long Island Railroad to GCT and the East Side.

As a result of this accessibility Midtown East has been the location of generations of trophy office buildings, such as the Seagram Building, Lever House, the Chrysler Building, and the former GE Building (home of the Real Estate Board of New York), all of which have been designated landmarks by the LPC.

GCT’s 100th anniversary allows us to reflect on its central role it has played in the development of Midtown East and in the history of landmark preservation in our city and around the country.  It is fitting as we celebrate this centennial that the city has proposed a rezoning of Midtown East which is intended to enhance the attractiveness and purpose of this commercial district and have it remain a business location that matches the enduring grandeur of GCT.

In other REBNY News:

Join REBNY’s Sales Brokers Committee for the presentation of the real estate industry’s highest honors for commercial brokers. The Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards will be presented during the 69th annual cocktail party on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the 101 Club, 101 Park Avenue. To register, contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com.

“Snap Shots: Creative Deals Outside the Box” is the exciting topic for the REBNY Members Luncheon from 11:45 am to 2 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Panelists are Kenneth F. Bernstein, President & CEO of Acadia Realty Trust; Christopher Schlank, Managing Partner at Savanna; and Michael Stern, Managing Partner of JDS Development. Robert A. Knakal will serve as the panel’s moderator. Tickets are $90 per person; $900 for a table of 10 and $1,080 for a table of 12. For registration, contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com.