Penn Station, the century-old rail station which serves about 650,000 people daily, is poised to undergo massive change in the near future, but what exactly its transformation will look like is unclear.
This week New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo outlined a general plan to improve the old station to the tune of an estimated $3 billion, presenting five possible scenarios.
What a James A. Farley Post Office train hall could look like. Rendering: governorandrewcuomo/Flickr
These range from simply renovating the existing Penn Station to linking an upgraded rail depot via underground concourses stretching across 8th Avenue to a new train hall that would be carved out of the adjacent James A. Farley Post Office, an idea that’s been kicked around for decades.
A possible look for the 33rd Street entrance to Penn Station. Rendering: governorandrewcuomo/Flickr
Another option involves shutting down 33rd Street and creating a glass-topped entrance that would feed sunlight into the concourse below, while yet one more sees a shiny new grand entryway constructed along 8th Avenue. The latter would replace the MSG Paramount Theater and include office space, retailers and a concourse. A 7th Avenue grand entrance is also being proposed.
The 8th Avenue grand entrance that New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo offered as a possible element of a Penn Station redevelopment. Rendering: governorandrewcuomo/Flickr
According to a statement on Cuomo’s official website, “The project will widen existing corridors, reconfiguring ticketing and waiting areas, improve connectivity between the lower levels and street level, bring natural light into the facility, improve signage, simplify navigation and reduce congestion, and expand and upgrade the retail offerings and passenger amenities on all levels of the station.”
Cuomo is banking on the private sector’s involvement. This week, Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, Amtrak, partly federally funded rail service, and the Metro Transit Authority/Long Island Railroad are soliciting developers to take on the project.
A vast majority of funding — an estimated $2 billion would be needed to convert the Farley building and upgrade existing Penn Station, with another billion for retail and office construction — is expected to come from private investment, with the promise of revenue from retail and commercial rents.
This year has been set as a target for groundbreaking, according to the statement.