Hochul Announces Pared-Back Penn Station Redevelopment Plan
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is forging forward with plans to revamp the busiest train station in the country and its surrounding area, but she is making several major changes to the proposal released by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo.
“I'm reimagining the New York City commuter experience. New Yorkers do not deserve what they have been subjected to for decades at Penn Station," Hochul said in her announcement. "The era of neglecting our Penn Station commuters and the neighboring community is over.”
Hochul’s plan is to overhaul the current terminal instead of building a new facility. The proposal would allow for the building of a new train hall that will double passenger circulation space to about 250K SF. It would add 18 more escalators and 11 more elevators to platforms, according to the release.
It would also expand new underground corridors, double the number of entrances and add a 30K SF plaza similar in size to Rockefeller Plaza with 8 acres of new public space. The entire development area would span 18.3M SF, per The New York Times, making it bigger than Hudson Yards.
Under Cuomo’s plan, New York State would have funded a $16B rebuilding of Penn Station through the development of 10 new office towers in the area. Hochul’s plan would also allow for development in the surrounding area and for the same number of buildings, but 1.4M SF of development has been removed from the previous plan the Times reports, a total reduction of 7%, and the height of the buildings has been reduced.
New “design controls” would be put in place to protect views of the Empire State Building, and there would be a mandate that 40% of every building frontage has active uses like retail or community facilities in order to promote pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. The plan would allow for 1,800 residential units, with 540 of them permanently affordable — a measure that was not in Cuomo’s plan.
A spokesperson for Vornado, which owns much of the land that would benefit from the redevelopment, told Bloomberg the company supports the idea.
“Vornado fully supports the efforts of Governor Hochul and the transportation agencies to improve the user experience of Penn Station for commuters, revitalize the area with transit-oriented development, and provide significant public realm and subway improvements for the community,” the spokesperson said in a statement.