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Banks: Oculus vital link for growing NYC workforce

JOHN-BANKS-REBNY-WATCH-300x180Commuters and visitors to Lower Manhattan have recently begun to experience the many  benefits offered by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s new World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

The Oculus, designed by renowned neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava, officially opened last week, marks the end of a series of projects to revitalize the World Trade Center area.

Expected to be used by up to 200,000 people per day once fully operational, the Oculus is approximately 800,000 square feet, making it the third largest transportation center in the city and the largest network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City. It will allow travelers to connect to 11 subway lines and the PATH train. It will also connect to the World Trade Center Memorial site and the Battery Park Ferry Terminal, and will feature a stunning 365-foot long main hall and a climate-controlled station.

The temporary PATH train station now serves a mere 44,000 passengers daily, and the transportation opportunities it presents in the World Trade Center area will have a tremendous impact on millions of commuters, visitors, and tourists in New York City every year. Coming soon, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub will also feature 75,000 square feet of retail space, making it not only a destination for travelers, but for everyday shoppers as well.

The Oculus is the result of years of hard work by the Port Authority, planners, and contractors. The completion of this project is more than just a victory for the World Trade Center area and today’s New Yorkers; it is an investment in our City’s future, and a necessary step in New York City’s growth and prosperity in the decades ahead.

The Oculus also performs another important function. For years, elected officials and members of several organizations and industries in the metropolitan area have been stressing the importance of trans-Hudson transportation. Separate and apart from providing housing and transit options for the city’s incoming population, we must also improve the access to the city for suburban commuters. Almost a third of the city’s workforce is comprised of suburban workers, with a growing share coming from New Jersey.

The new transportation hub will continue to serve as a vital link to the cities and towns west of the Hudson, which is projected to be the largest source of New York City’s growing workforce.  The Oculus will be an important element in the region’s infrastructure improvements and a critical complement to a planned new Port Authority Bus Terminal as well as two new trans-Hudson tunnels to serve Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.

Among the next challenges the city has to face is one-seat ride service from Manhattan to Newark Airport.  The Oculus will be the gateway to this important service for Lower Manhattan. Our transportation network must grow to continue to meet the needs of our citizens, and projects such as the Oculus represent a clear acknowledgement and ability of the City to meet those needs. I congratulate the Port Authority for completing this project, and if you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, it’s a reason to celebrate.

This project’s completion is an important step in our continuing recovery from the attacks of September 11, 2001 and more evidence that New York City is the greatest city in the world.

In other REBNY news:

New Yorkers may now begin submitting applications to the Peter Cooper Village – Stuyvesant Town (PCVST) Affordable Housing Lottery. This lottery comes as a part of Councilmember Daniel Garodnick’s agreement to preserve 5,000 units of affordable housing in PCVST over the next 20 years, and all qualified New Yorkers should strongly consider taking advantage of this opportunity. Applications may be submitted any time before March 31st at, and appear applications can be made available to those who mail a request with a self-addressed envelope to Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town, 243 5th Avenue, Box 425, New York, NY 10016. As a result of CM Garodnick’s advocacy, current PCVST tenants who make it onto the waitlist and move into an affordable unit will not be required to pay a fee for breaking their lease, and Blackstone will pay their moving expenses.

REBNY’s next Residential Rental Clinic seminar is on March 18th from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Mendik Education Center. Presented by Daniel Marrello of Town Fifth Avenue LLC and Gary Kiyan of Perfect RE Solutions Inc., join fellow REBNY members in this exciting seminar that will teach you more about how to expand and improve your residential real estate business.

For more information, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) will host a Members’ Luncheon on March 22, 2016 from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Hilton New York. The event will include a panel discussion titled, “New York City Market Forecast – Where Are We Now? and Where Are We Going?” The panel will be moderated by Ron LoRusso of Cushman & Wakefield and feature panelists: Helen Hwang of Meridian Investment Sales, LLC, Hal Stein of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Chase Welles of SCG Retail, and Sacha Zarba of CBRE, Inc. REBNY will also announce the winner of its 2015 Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award at this event. To register, visit or contact Ossie Shemtov at

REBNY’s next Secrets of Top Brokers and Industry Leaders seminar will be on March 23rd from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Mendik Education Center. Register now to hear our panel of real estate experts examine and present current trends in real estate to enhance the professional knowledge of each attending agent. Registration is required, and more information can be found on, or by contacting Yesenia Dhanraj at

REBNY will be honoring outstanding leaders in the field of Commercial Property Management at their upcoming Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast on Thursday, June 2, 2016. At this highly anticipated breakfast, we will be presenting the John M. Griffin Community Service Award, the On-Site Manager of the Year Award, the Portfolio Manager of the Year Award, the Small Buildings Engineer of the Year, the Large Buildings Engineer of the Year, the Security Professional of the Year, the Porter of the Year, the Rising Star of the Year and the Best Engine Room Award.  To register, visit or contact Cindy Ramotar at

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