MTA issues RFP for architectural and engineering firms to guide $6 to $7 billion Penn Station Reconstruction

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penn station rendering
Conceptual rendering of the Penn Station Reconstruction from the office of New York Governor Kathy Hochul

New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has issued a Request for Proposals from architecture and engineering firms to guide the Penn Station Reconstruction.

The reconstruction of the station is expected to cost between six and seven billion dollars and is estimated to be completed five to six years after the start of construction, the June 9 statement says.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in the announcement said the project “calls for the transformation of Penn Station into a modern, spacious, light-filled facility that is easy to navigate, while also revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood to prioritize the public realm and social services, invest in affordable housing, increase transit access and shared streets, and create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Penn Reconstruction will modernize the concourse experience for passengers with improved platform connectivity, streamlined wayfinding and enhanced amenities.”

See the RFP documentation here

The project’s foundation outlined in the the Penn Station Master Plan study will add track and platform capacity and be fully integrated with a reconstructed Penn Station, the statement says. Amtrack and NJ Transit are partners in the initiative.

“The transformation of Penn Station into a world-class, commuter-focused transportation facility befitting the central hub of the greatest city in the world cannot come soon enough,”Hochul said“We have shared a vision of a single-level unified station with soaring ceilings that welcome natural light, clear, intuitive sightlines, more circulation space and more connectivity to streets and platforms. With this announcement, the MTA is taking a concrete step toward making that vision a reality. Thanks to the efforts of the Biden Administration, Senator Schumer’s leadership and the support of Senator Gillibrand and our congressional delegation, new federal resources are available to assist in creating a new Penn Station for the entire region.”

In accordance with the master plan developed by MTA and its partner railroads, the rebuilt station will:

  • Integrate train boarding and all public functions and amenities on a single level with broad concourses and high ceilings
  • Create a main concourse on the east side of the station that will be considerably larger than the areas of Moynihan Train Hall and the Great Hall at Grand Central Terminal combined
  • Double the ceiling height of the public concourses
  • Establish clear sightlines to platform entrances to provide intuitive travel paths through the station
  • Increase the number of stairs, escalators and elevators to the station’s 11 platforms by 33 percent
  • Improve/enlarge pedestrian entrances

The current Penn Station – the Western Hemisphere’s busiest transit hub – serves more passengers than LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Airports combined. Amtrak’s operation in the new Moynihan Train Hall provides an opportunity to overhaul Penn Station, eliminating the bulk of the first subterranean level to open up the main concourse to natural light, improving retail and other user amenities, increasing safety and security, significantly expanding passenger circulation areas, expanding entrances and exits, and making it easier for passengers to navigate within the station and to connect to their destinations beyond.

Additionally, Empire State Development announced the creation of the Penn Station Area Public Realm Task Force, which will advise ESD on public realm improvements to revitalize and beautify the area around Penn Station, including reimagined streetscapes and new open spaces. The Public Realm Task Force comprises representatives of involved State and City agencies, local elected officials, community boards, civic organizations and other stakeholders.

Public Realm Task Force membership

  • Governor’s office:
    • Deputy Secretary of Economic Development
    • Deputy Secretary of Transportation
    • Deputy Secretary of Human Services
  • Empire State Development
  • MTA
  • Amtrak
  • New Jersey Transit
  • New York City Mayor’s Office
  • NYC Dept of Transportation
  • NYC Dept of City Planning
  • NYC Economic Development Corporation
  • Manhattan CBs 4 and 5 (2 appointees from each Board)
  • Civic organizations
    • Regional Plan Association
    • 34th Street Partnership
    • Developers in GPP Area
  • MSG
  • Congressman Jerrold Nadler
  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
  • State Senator Brad Hoylman
  • State Senator Robert Jackson
  • State Senator Liz Krueger
  • Assemblyman Richard Gottfried
  • Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine
  • Councilmember Erik Bottcher

The Task Force will be charged with developing a Public Realm Concept Plan, assisted by noted architect Claire Weisz’s WXY Studio, that includes a prioritized list of desired public improvements like the designs of streets and open spaces, and guiding principles for additional public realm design, programming, and operations. ESD and the Task Force will also work closely with the New York City Department of City Planning to ensure its work is coordinated and consistent with the City’s broader public realm planning goals.

A Penn Station Area Public Realm Fund will be created, funded by a portion of the real estate revenues generated by new redevelopment of the GPP sites, starting with a commitment of $50 million in early project revenues.

Governor Hochul today also announced the premiere of a video showcasing the State’s vision for a new Penn Station and for the revitalization of the area surrounding it. The video encapsulates public presentations made during more than one hundred meetings to community groups and elected officials over the past two years, so all New Yorkers can understand the plan, and how – after decades of trying — New York can finally build a New Penn Station, worthy of the Empire State.

In parallel with Penn Reconstruction design, the railroads anticipate beginning a review of the Penn Reconstruction project under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. That review will include robust outreach as required by law and will be supplemented by a Station Working Advisory Group to ensure as many local and regional voices as possible are heard and the best ideas are incorporated into the design, the statement says.

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