Governor Cuomo Announces Adoption of General Project Plan for Transformative Empire Station Complex
New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Empire State Development’s Board of Directors has adopted the General Project Plan and certified the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the area surrounding Penn Station, part of the Empire Station Complex, which was outlined as part of the Governor’s 2020 State of the State Agenda. The draft Plan is a comprehensive redevelopment initiative that will revitalize the area around Penn Station and generate funds to help overhaul and expand the Station itself. On December 30, Governor Cuomo announced the grand opening of the Moynihan Train Hall, the first step in realizing this vision. Materials from the Board action can be found here.
“New York has repeatedly proven that government can still successfully deliver transformational infrastructure projects that are not only on-time and on-budget, but withstand the test of time,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Moynihan Train Hall’s successful completion was a milestone, but it’s only the first step in a neighborhood-wide revitalization. The Empire Station Complex project represents the next great investment in our efforts to rebuild and expand this crucial piece of our state’s infrastructure and will support economic growth in New York City and across the entire state.”
“As a former counsel to the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, I’m proud that the new Moynihan Train Hall is a testament to his forward-looking vision and New York’s resilient spirit,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Today’s announcement means further revitalization around the Penn Station area and builds on our world-class experience for travelers. The brand-new Moynihan Train Hall and future Empire Station Complex is a symbol for how New York State is committed to building back better than ever before for the post-pandemic future.”
The Empire Station Complex General Project Plan, supported by a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, would catalyze high-density, transit-oriented redevelopment on eight sites, resulting in a modern, mixed-use district with approximately 20 million gross square feet of Class A commercial office, retail, hotel and potentially residential space in ten buildings. It would roughly double the amount of gross square footage currently permitted across the eight sites. Additionally, the plan introduces much-needed public transportation improvements, including new entrances and access ways to Penn Station and nearby public transit, and public space improvements to address open space and pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular circulation and enhancements of the surrounding streetscape.
The buildings facilitated by the adopted plan will generate essential revenue for substantial improvements at Penn Station and other transit facilities in the project area. Three of the eight proposed sites would accommodate the potential expansion of Penn Station into the blocks south of the existing station to allow for the creation of new, below-grade tracks and platforms. The adopted plan for these sites would require that the above-grade mixed-use development accommodate the potential expansion under the sites and adjoining streets. The design, construction, and operation of an expanded Penn Station, which is being analyzed as part of a separate planning and federal environmental review process, would be assumed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Amtrak, and the New Jersey Transit Authority.
The project area is generally bounded by Sixth and Ninth Avenues to the east and west, and by West 30th and West 34th Streets to the south and north in Midtown Manhattan, Community Districts 4 and 5.
Empire State Development Chairman Steven M. Cohen said, “ESD has made significant strides in fulfilling Governor Cuomo’s promise to finally build the modern transportation rail hub that New York truly deserves, not merely settles for. The ESD board recognizes that New York’s future economic vitality directly depends on the infrastructure improvements we make today, and I appreciate their vote of confidence on this project and for the Governor’s broader vision to move this state forward.”
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “With Moynihan Train Hall and now this General Project Plan, we are well on the way toward transforming Penn Station into another iconic symbol of New York City’s future. The Governor’s vision for Empire Station Complex is vital to the success and economic growth of both the City of New York and the State. I am thrilled that ESD’s plan will create a vibrant mixed-use district around Penn Station that will be worthy of a world-class transportation hub serving millions of commuters, residents and travelers.”
A virtual public hearing on the DEIS and GPP will take place on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 5:00PM to 8:00PM, followed by a 30-day public comment period. Members of the public interested in participating must register here. Additionally, registration information and detailed instructions related to the virtual public hearing are available on ESD’s website. The public can also submit comments to ESD by emailing [email protected]ny.gov. Comments must be received by 5:00PM on Friday, April 23, 2021.
ESD is working with Vornado Realty Trust, the owner of a significant amount of property in the project area, including most of five of the project’s development sites. The planning, design and implementation of public realm improvements are a collaborative effort with the New York City Department of City Planning and the New York City Department of Transportation. ESD is collaborating with the MTA, Amtrak and NJT with respect to the implementation of public transportation improvements and the potential expansion of Penn Station.
Empire Station Complex is part of Governor Cuomo’s broader Midtown West redevelopment, announced as part of the 2021 State of the State agenda. New York State has previously led several successful macro-development projects in New York City, including Battery Park City, Roosevelt Island and the transformation of Times Square. Other elements of Governor Cuomo’s vision for Midtown West are extending the High Line, replacing the Port Authority Bus Terminal, transforming Pier 76 from a tow pound to a waterfront park, and the soon to be completed expansion of the Javits Center. The $51 billion plan will create 196,000 jobs, new outdoor spaces, improved public transit and pedestrian connections, and bring commercial and affordable housing opportunities to the burgeoning Manhattan neighborhood.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “Moving forward with a modern and revitalized Empire Station Complex is an important step toward the infrastructure investments needed to ensure regional interconnectivity and economic growth. Penn Station is the gateway to New York City for millions of tourists and commuters and should reflect the greatness of our city.”
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “New York is finally realizing a decades-long dream of a 21st century transit hub – and one that New Yorkers truly deserve. The new Moynihan Train Hall has already become an iconic symbol of the city, bringing light, art and accessibility to commuters. For decades, Penn Station has been a vexing issue for my district and for the entire region. I look forward to working with the community and local stakeholders to bring the vision of the Empire Station Complex to life and continuing Penn Station’s transformation and track expansion. By addressing the myriad of issues posed by the existing transit hub, we will re-energize the district for the benefit of the surrounding neighborhood and the entire city.”
Senator Robert Jackson said, “The Empire Station Complex will revitalize the area around Penn Station, spurring new investments and welcoming new residents and businesses. Today’s announcement of an adopted General Project Plan represents the next step in a transparent and public process that will help usher this project from concept to reality.”
Assembly Member Richard Gottfried said, “New Yorkers had their first look at what 21st century transportation looks like with the stunning opening of the Moynihan Train Hall, next stop, the Empire Station Complex. This will not only change the way we travel, but also provide an opportunity to meet the greatest challenges the surrounding community faces, from increasing pedestrian space to building new affordable housing. I thank Governor Cuomo for driving the Empire Station Complex forward and look forward to local input and needs continuing to shape this grand vision.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said, “I commend the Governor’s commitment to revitalizing the area around Penn Station and I’m glad to see a plan taking shape. I look forward to participating in the community engagement process for this proposal which will be a key part of shaping the future of the Penn Station area in a post-pandemic future.”