Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Penn Station’s $2 Billion Overhaul is 'Going to Happen'

New York City's Penn Station is a transit nightmare. It's crowded, confusing to navigate, and frequently smells like a mix of Auntie Anne's pretzels and body odor. Traveling through Penn is a bit of a necessary evil that commuters just deal with. It's an incredibly busy transportation hub, where roughly 650,000 people and 1,200 trains pass through each day.

Fortunately for commuters, Penn Station's long-overdue overhaul is finally in sight.

Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to convert the spacious post office building across Eighth Avenue into a grand waiting room for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers while also widening the existing station's catacomb-like concourses underneath Madison Square Garden.

Similar proposals have been batted about for at least 20 years, but Cuomo insisted the new Penn Station at long last is nigh.

"This is not a plan," he told business leaders. "This is what's going to happen."

In January, New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Penn Station overhaul, which was projected at the time cost $3.6 billion. The new Penn Station, set to be completed in 2020, is now estimated to cost $1.9 billion.

The governor said all necessary funding and approvals have been secured to turn the James A. Farley Post Office Building into a grand train hall by December 2020 and three firms have been hired to oversee the $1.6 billion renovation: the Related Cos., Vornado Realty and Skanska. The developers have agreed to pay $600 million for the rights to build 700,000 square feet worth of commercial and retail space on the west side of the Farley building, next door to Hudson Yards.

The Cuomo administration's Empire State Development Corp. will contribute $570 million, with Amtrak, the LIRR, Port Authority and federal sources picking up the rest.

The Amtrak waiting area, currently on the first floor near the Eighth Avenue entrance, will be moved to the historic James A. Farley Post Office building across the street, Cuomo says.

The new Farley Post Office will measure 250,000 square feet (larger than Grand Central Terminal), and will be renamed the Moynihan Train Hall.

Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) will service passengers there ...


... who can also shop and mingle in its forthcoming 700,000 square feet of retail and office space.

A dramatic skylight harkens back to the old Penn Station, which was demolished and rebuilt in the 1960s.

The LIRR concourses will be redeveloped by the MTA, which will triple the width of the 33rd Street Corridor — one of the busiest sections of Penn Station.

The plan also calls for upgraded ticket stations, Wi-Fi, new escalators, signs that are easier to understand, and larger windows for more natural light.

This is not the first attempt to revive Penn Station. Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, proposed a similar plan in the 1980s, but funding fell through. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan later tried to rebuild the station, but Amtrak withdrew from the plan in 2001.

It's a long-overdue overhaul.

Visit Our Sponsors

Page Views

Since October 1, 2011