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NEW YORK CITY-Now that the cost to renovate Pennsylvania Station has risen to about $3 billion, Gov. Eliot Spitzer is reportedly going to meet with the ownership of Madison Square Garden and developers Vornado Realty Trust and Related Cos. this week in an attempt to shore up support and financing for the venture, according to a report in the New York Times.

The plan to build Moynihan Station, which would include renovating the existing Penn Station and relocating Madison Square Garden one block west to the Farley Post Office on Ninth Avenue, is a favorite of Spitzer, who previously stated the venture is critical to New York City’s future. Earlier this month, officials with the Empire State Development Corp. reported that the latest cost estimate for Moynihan Station, named after the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is now $3 billion, creating at least a $1-billion financing shortfall from earlier estimates. In addition to financing issues, the governor will need to convince the ownership of Madison Square Garden to stay on board. According to the Times, Garden executives say they have grown tired of delays and cost overruns and are set to announce plans to renovate the existing Madison Square Garden in a few weeks.

The Moynihan Station project was originally pegged at $900 million. The original plan did not include the cost of relocating Madison Square Garden to a portion of the Farley Post Office annex. In March 2007, the Empire State Development Corp. purchased the Farley Post Office from the United State Post Office in a deal valued at $230 million.

Earlier this month, Dan Gunderson and Patrick Foye, co-chairs of the Empire State Development Corp., told state lawmakers that they “had made significant progress in advancing the Moynihan Station project.” At the time, they noted that there was a spirit of cooperation among “the [Vornado-Related] joint venture, New York City, Madison Square Garden, the Postal Service, the MTA and the three rail lines that converge into the current Penn Station.”

New York State is expected to release a more detailed plan for the project in the near future. State officials have said in the past they had hoped construction could begin on the Moynihan Station by late 2008.

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