New York Finalizes Plans for $7 Billion Penn Station Transformation

Governor Hochul just announced the approval of the project.

Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office
Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office

Penn Station could finally shed its reputation as a dingy dungeon, thanks to a new renovation plan that's finally received approval.

Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that the MTA, in partnership with NJ Transit and Amtrak, just approved the contract for the massive project to a joint venture of architects of FXCollaborative, engineering firm WSP, and British design studio John McAslan and Partners.

It is estimated that the record project will cost a whopping $6-7 billion, with a first-year base contract of up to $57.9 million to develop the preliminary station design.

"Since crews took a wrecking ball to the original Penn Station in 1963, generations of New Yorkers have been united in their call to build a new station worthy of New York," Governor Hochul said in an official statement. "By approving the contract for the redesign of Penn Station, we move another step closer to getting it done. The transformation of Penn cannot come soon enough, and we look forward to building a world-class station that puts New Yorkers first, delivers a rider-focused transit experience, and a great neighborhood they deserve."

Last year, FXCollaborative and WSP unveiled the Penn Station Master Plan, which envisioned Penn Station becoming a 250,000-square-foot single-level facility built around a grand train hall and sprawling from Madison Square Garden to 2 Penn Plaza.

The project's priorities list revolve around a better passenger experience in terms of flow and overcrowding, and more station entrances and exits will serve this goal. Improved safety and accessibility is also on the list with additional elevators, escalators, and waiting areas, and the project is also set to incorporate other retail and dining options. The current plan does not add train capacity, although a separate Gateway program is in the works to increase rail capacity between NYC and Newark, New Jersey by building new train tunnels under the Hudson River and renovating existing ones.

The changes are set to affect an estimated 650,000 daily commuters, who will also benefit from the presence of a new 30,000-square-foot public plaza outside the station featuring more bike lanes and docking stations as well as widened sidewalks. According to the master plan, high-rise residential towers will also be constructed, and they could create 1,800 apartments with 540 permanently affordable units. Additionally, the station will be integrated with the new Moynihan Train Hall.

"Awarding the design contract is a huge step forward in Governor Hochul's effort to make Penn Station—once again!—a safe, world-class transit facility," Janno Lieber, MTA Chair and CEO, said in an official statement. "The opening of Grand Central Madison in just a few months provides us with a once-a-century opportunity to rebuild Penn Station. With a sizable percentage of LIRR riders expected to shift their trips to Grand Central Madison, Penn Station will have five years with lower customer volumes before a new influx of customers arrives on Metro-North Railroad by 2027. The MTA wants to get most disruptive the work done before then, so I'm thrilled we are moving forward quickly with the design phase of this massive, long-delayed effort."

Take a look at some of the project's renderings here below:

Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office
Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office
Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office
Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office
Image courtesy of NY Governor’s Office

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.