Negotiation via blind items drives epochal real-estate projects, as well as ballplayers' contract haggling, and we've uncovered reasons to view recent stories about the Moynihan Station struggles as part of an encouraging trend on the project. For one thing, Governor Spitzer has personally entered negotiations. Spokesman Errol Cockfield confirms that last week Spitz convened his first face-to-face meetings with the Dolans (who own Madison Square Garden) and the developers who own air rights to the intended Moynihan site. One player intimate with the negotiations described this as “shuttle diplomacy,” and apparently it's had an effect.
“I'm seeing real positive movement — all the players want to make this work," said Bob Yaro, who carries the civic-consensus banner as head of the Regional Plan Association. According to our source on the inside, parties are stalking a grand bargain in which the Feds would drum up $500 to $550 billion, in part via tax credits that the House Ways and Means chairman Charles Rangel would snag, and the city and state and Garden and developers would match that sum. However the players come to terms, it's clear that Spitzer has tied Moynihan's success to his own credibility. “It's among his chief economic-development priorities,” said Cockfield. So the daily screeds about public-private futility, say insiders, constitute a “natural part” of negotiations as private players squeeze the governor to steamroll into the discussions. Now that he has, everyone agrees, the developers gain much more by being patient than they would from pulling the plug. So if the Yankees and Mets are a little dull this summer, we should get lots of Moynihan leaks to keep us alert. —Alec Appelbaum