In a presentation (pdf) Tuesday at the Association for a Better New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that plans for transforming a revamped Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex into a “world-class 21st century transportation hub” were back on track and ready to roll, complete with a slew of new renderings and the selection of a developer-builder team including the Related Companies, Vornado, and Skanska AB, to redevelop the Farley Building.
With more than twice the passenger traffic of JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports combined, the governor called the current Penn Station, “overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic” and promised the new Moynihan Train Hall “will have more space than Grand Central’s main concourse, housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, along with state-of-the-art security features, a modern, digital passenger experience, and a host of dining and retail options.”
In the first of the project’s two major parts, McKim, Mead & White’s 1913 Beaux-Arts James A. Farley Post Office will be the site of a newly-constructed 255,000-square-foot train hall that will serve both Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers. Moynihan Train Hall, as it will be known, will hold more than 112,000 square feet of retail and 588,000 square feet of office space in addition to ticketing and waiting areas for the two train lines.
The new hall will employ state-of-the-art security measures and high-tech additions like free wifi and charging stations. Renderings have been based on designs by the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) who have been attached to the project since its earliest stages. The Governor’s presentation states that, “A number of design concepts, including those received through the RFEI process, are under review that would add retail and improve passenger experience and station function.” It is possible that the selected team could proceed with a different firm.
In addition to the new hub, the MTA will thoroughly revamp the existing Penn Station’s 33rd Street LIRR concourse. This redesign will nearly triple the width of the existing corridor and result in higher ceilings, brighter lighting and new way-finding, ticketing and informational systems.
Also included in the plan is a complete renovation of both Penn Station subway stations—the A/C/E at Eighth Avenue and the 1/2/3 at Seventh Avenue–as per MTA plans, announced earlier this year, to update dozens of subway stations throughout the system.
Similar to the renderings released in January, the plans show a new glass skylight above the concourse, meant to reference the original Penn Station design, integrated into the building’s historic and architecturally dramatic steel trusses. From the architect’s description: “SOM’s design establishes a grand civic space that celebrates the unique history of the Farley Building while evoking the vaulted concourse of the original Penn Station.”
Cuomo has said the cost of the Train Hall project will be about $1.6 billion; $600 million will come from the developer of the hall’s retail space, $570 million will come from the Empire State Development Corporation and $425 million will come from Amtrak, LIRR, the Port Authority, and the federal government. The Penn Station LIRR corridor revamp will ring in at $170 million; the subway station facelifts will cost $50 million and could happen “as early as 2018.”
6sqft reported in December of last year that “… after a promise to close this year on the deal [with Related and Vornado] was left empty, Governor Cuomo seems to have had enough” of the long-stalled project, and in January posted renderings and an outline of the governor’s plans for a reboot with possible new partners on board.
650,000 people travel through Penn Station every day, more than the traffic at Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia airports combined. And if all goes according to plan, Governor Cuomo projects that number will double over the next 15 years. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2020.