View of the morning commute at Grand Central Terminal in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg)

NYC's Grand Central Terminal Will Be Sold for $35 Million to the MTA

(Bloomberg) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is buying a New York City landmark.

The subway operator’s finance committee approved the $35 million purchase of Grand Central Terminal, along with Metro North Railroad’s Harlem Line and Hudson Line from Midtown Trackage Ventures, a holding company, according to a statement from the agency. That company owns assets that once belonged to PennCentral Transportation, the railroad that went bankrupt in the 1970s.

The purchase, expected to be approved by the full board Thursday, would end a 280-year lease that gave the MTA a one-time window to buy the station, which renowned architect Philip Johnson and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis campaigned to save in the 1970s. That chance to buy it will close in 11 months.

“This was a no-brainer, from a financial standpoint,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “We had to exercise the option to purchase or remain a tenant for another 270-plus years. And the interest rate environment –- and the $500,000 discount offered by the seller –- means it’s cheaper to buy it now than to pay rent for all that time."

Built by the New York Central Railroad, Grand Central first opened in 1913 and is a city icon. It welcomes about 750,000 visitors every day, making it one of the most visited destinations in New York, second to Times Square. The MTA uses it for the Metro North commuter rail line.

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