Monday, June 06, 2011

The Economic Impact of the High Line

I first wrote about the elevated park in New York City called the High Line in 2005, and described my first visit to the park in 2009.

The New York Times reports on the economic impact of the still unfinished High Line, which has become a classic example of how investment in public amenities can spur private investment:
A decade ago, so many moneyed interests were united against saving the elevated freight tracks that cut through the West Side of Manhattan that the idea appeared to be doomed. Owners of land and buildings throughout Chelsea wanted the decaying High Line viaduct razed, and the administration of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani supported their feelings.

But on Friday afternoon, there was Mr. Giuliani’s successor, Michael R. Bloomberg, proclaiming that preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park.

The mayor pointed to the deluxe apartment buildings whose glass walls press up against the High Line and the hundreds of art galleries, restaurants and boutiques it overlooks. All of that commerce more than makes up for the $115 million the city has spent on the park and the deals it has made to encourage developers to build along the High Line without blocking out the sun, Mr. Bloomberg said. On top of the 8,000 construction jobs those projects required, the redevelopment has added about 12,000 jobs in the area, the mayor said.
I've been up on the High Line twice, and found the park crowded with neighborhood residents and tourists. Gleaming residential towers and revived brick tenements flank the park. It's one of most unusual and most successful parks I've ever seen.

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