New York officials unveil RFP for $3 billion Penn Station project

February 1, 2016

From Progressive Railroading Magazine

The Empire State Development Corp., the organization that will oversee the $3 billion redevelopment of Penn Station and the Farley Post Office Building in Midtown Manhattan, has released a request for proposals (RFP) for the project.Website Insert 5000 New Seats copy

The existing station, which sits beneath Madison Square Garden, will be “dramatically” renovated, according to a press release issued by Cuomo’s office.

The project will widen existing station corridors, reconfigure ticketing and waiting areas, improve connections between the lower and street levels, bring in natural light, improve signage, simplify passengers’ navigation through the structure, reduce congestion, and expand and upgrade retail offerings and passenger amenities. The new station also will include Wi-Fi, modern displays of train information and streamlined ticketing, Cuomo administration officials said.

The Farley Post Office will be redeveloped into a “state-of-the-art” train hall for Amtrak, which owns Penn Station. The hall also will offer services for passengers of the MTA Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and the new Air Train to LaGuardia Airport.

The train hall will be connected to the station via an underground pedestrian concourse, which will increase the station’s size by 50 percent. At 210,000 square feet, the train hall will be about the same size to the main room at Grand Central Terminal.

The new facility will offer more concourse and circulation space, and offer retail and modern amenities. When completed, the entire hub will be known as the “Empire Station Complex.”

“Penn Station is the heart of New York’s economy and transportation network, but it has been outdated, overcrowded and unworthy of the Empire State for far too long,” said Cuomo. “This proposal will fundamentally transform Penn Station for the 21st century, and we are excited to move forward with the project in the days to come.”

The original Penn Station was built in 1910. The station’s above ground area was demolished in the early 1960s and Madison Square Garden was built in its place. What is now Penn Station exists entirely underground. It is the main intercity railroad station in the city, and serves more than 600,000 commuter-rail and Amtrak passengers daily.

A public-private partnership will develop the project, with groundbreaking anticipated for this year. Solicitations are being sent to developers this week, and responses are due in 90 days. Amtrak will issue the solicitations for the station, and the state of New York, which owns the Farley Post Office building, will solicit proposals from developers for that part of the project.

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