NEW YORK CITY-The long-delayed Moynihan Station project took another step toward reaching fruition Friday with the vote by the Empire State Development Corp.’s board of directors to approve an amended General Project Plan and environmental review documents for the project. The vote will be followed in late April by a public hearing and a 30-day comment period.
Scheduled for April 28, the public hearing will take place at the James A. Farley Post Office Building, which the plan aims to convert into an annex to Penn Station across the street. Amtrak in February signed a memorandum of understanding to move its operations into Moynihan Station, named for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and the project’s first phase received an $83-million stimulus grant from the US Department of Transportation. More recently, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill signed a design contract in connection with the project.
As approved by the ESDC board, phase one of the Moynihan Station project will include $267 million worth of transportation-related improvements to the below-grade rail infrastructure under the Farley building, including concourse expansions, an increase in vertical access points to platforms and ventilation upgrades. The second, more costly phase will entail construction of a rail passenger facility within the Farley building, only 20% of which is currently used by the US Postal Service. All told, the project is projected to increase the number of access points for Penn Station passengers by 30% and open space within the station complex by 50%.
Concurrent with the April 28 hearing and public-comment period that follows it, ESDC subsidiary Moynihan Station Development Corp. and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will conduct community outreach regarding the first phase of development. After reviewing public comments, MSDC will create a final GPP and final environmental review. Pending the Federal Rail Administration environmental review and approval by the state’s Public Authorities Control Board, construction on the project could begin this year.
“Too many have waited too long for relief at Penn Station,” says MSDC president Robin Stout in a release. “As we move through the public approval process, we will also be concluding our design and documentation so that Phase 1 construction can begin as soon as possible.”