Subsidy Sheet: Hudson Yards at 37% vacancy, but Hochul has taxpayers back new mega-offices next door at Penn Station


Governor Hochul’s plan to give developer/donor Vornado major tax breaks as part of her Penn Station revamp is a bad bet for taxpayers, suggests the New York Times.

It’s generally irrational public policy to give massive tax breaks to corporations that don’t need them for deals that will do little to boost the economy. So what does that make Governor Hochul’s plan for NYC and State taxpayers to subsidize ten million more feet of office space in post-pandemic Manhattan, when only 8% of NYC employees are in the office full-time, and office vacancy rates are at all-time highs – sheer folly? Madness? 

The Times provides important context for the huge Hochul/Cuomo Penn Station development with some key stats about the adjacent Hudson Yards mega-complex and post-pandemic office space realities. Hudson Yards has been repeatedly cited as the model for the “value capture” scheme for Penn Station.  

The Times piece wasn’t the only bad press for the Penn Station plan this week – Inside Hook also has a good write-up on other reasons not to move forward with the project: Going forward, white-collar employees expect to be in the office only half as often as they were pre-COVID, and most remote workers want to continue to work from home.

Other stories from this week:

Fun fact: Penn Station used to look like this. A better future is possible! (Hat tip to Inside Hook.)

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker, Policy Analyst at Reinvent Albany, and edited by John Kaehny. Rachael Fauss also contributed writing this week.

Please send questions and tips to tom [at] We look forward to hearing from you!