Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City

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Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 26, 1978
Appealed from NY Court of Appeals (highest NY court)


In 1967, Grand Central Terminal was designated a landmark in Manhattan, New York City.

Ten years later, the landmark designation dispute gave rise to a SCOTUS case.

The landmark designation restricts the use of the property with a resultant economic loss for the owner. The owner must obtain permission from the city commission before modifying the property.

Penn Central Transportation Company ("Company") owned the Grand Central Station in Manhattan.

The company wanted to build a 50-story office tower above the terminal.

The NYC Commission rejected the owner's (Company) development plans.

Procedural History

The Company sued the NYC Commission in state court.


Limitation on property use that still allows a reasonable use of the property doesn't constitute a "taking" of under the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution.


The Penn Central test balances

1. the law’s economic impact;

2. the owner’s reasonable, investment-backed expectations; and

3. the character of the government action.