By Hadassa Kalatizadeh
New York State is pursuing plans to reshape Midtown Manhattan by redeveloping the area near Penn Station.
As reported by Crain’s NY, Empire State Development has drafted early plans to develop eight sites by the Midtown Manhattan transit hub, which has been the busiest train station in the Western Hemisphere. The ambitious project would result in 10 mixed-used buildings with a total of about 20 million square feet for offices, retail, hotel and maybe even residential space.
The plan announced on Friday, would almost double the size of building permitted at the sites. The draft is in line with the promise Gov. Andrew Cuomo made last year, to increase the train station’s track capacity by 40 percent and make new developments which will pay for the improvements. “Moynihan Hall is just the beginning. Now we will expand our vision with a new Manhattan Midtown West development project to create a new west side transit hub, and build upon it with new residential, commercial and public works projects that will combine to form a new, vibrant, exciting district extending over 140 acres,” Cuomo promised during his extensive State of the State speeches. “Taken together, the Moynihan Hall, the block south of Penn Station and the renovated Penn Station will double our capacity, and make travel easier, safer, more reliable, and more enjoyable”.
The early plans would have the state partner on the project with Vornado Realty Trust, a giant real estate investment trust which owns a lot of the land on which the project will be developed. Vornado owns and operates close to 20 million square feet of prime office properties, and is the largest owner and manager of street retail in Manhattan, with a portfolio of more than 2.4 million square feet. Vornado will be eager to replicate its achievements attained in Hudson Yards. The company has already spent over $2 billion to redevelop some 5 million square feet by Penn Station, including the new Moynihan Trail Hall, at the Farley Building. Previously the iconic post office, the Farley Building inked a deal in August, for Facebook to lease all the office space.
Pennsylvania Station has already been undergoing major improvements and redevelopment since 2017, with hopes to address space constraints and transform the station into a modern gateway to New York. Related Companies, Vornado Realty, and Skanska were awarded the contract to develop the Moynihan Train Hall. The project architect was Skidmore and Owings & Merrill.