Scheduled for April 28, the public hearing will take place atthe James A. Farley Post Office Building, which the plan aims toconvert into an annex to Penn Station across the street. Amtrak inFebruary signed a memorandum of understanding to move itsoperations into Moynihan Station, named for the late Sen. DanielPatrick Moynihan, and the project's first phase received an$83-million stimulus grant from the US Department ofTransportation. More recently, Skidmore, Owings & Merrillsigned a design contract in connection with the project.

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As approved by the ESDC board, phase one of the Moynihan Stationproject will include $267 million worth of transportation-relatedimprovements to the below-grade rail infrastructure under theFarley building, including concourse expansions, an increase invertical access points to platforms and ventilation upgrades. Thesecond, more costly phase will entail construction of a railpassenger facility within the Farley building, only 20% of which iscurrently used by the US Postal Service. All told, the project isprojected to increase the number of access points for Penn Stationpassengers by 30% and open space within the station complex by50%.

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Concurrent with the April 28 hearing and public-comment periodthat follows it, ESDC subsidiary Moynihan Station Development Corp.and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will conductcommunity outreach regarding the first phase of development. Afterreviewing public comments, MSDC will create a final GPP and finalenvironmental review. Pending the Federal Rail Administrationenvironmental review and approval by the state's Public AuthoritiesControl Board, construction on the project could begin thisyear.

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"Too many have waited too long for relief at Penn Station," saysMSDC president Robin Stout in a release. "As we move through thepublic approval process, we will also be concluding our design anddocumentation so that Phase 1 construction can begin as soon aspossible."

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.