9:25 am May. 9, 2012
On Tuesday afternoon, Port Authority executive director Pat Foye stood in the rain outside of the James A. Farley Post Office at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue to announce the imminent start of "Phase I" of an otherwise still aspirational Moynihan Station.
The $270 million project will roughly double the width and length of Penn Station's western concourse, extending it southward to encompass New Jersey Transit and Amtrak tracks. It will also vastly improve access to the labyrinthine station, creating six new entrances, three at the southwest corner of 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue, and another three at 31st Street. The entrances will have escalators, elevators and stairs to the platforms.
Foye, himself a Long Island Railroad commuter, said what has been a "fairly dingy" commuter experience would now "be fit for humans.”
The authority plans to announce the new, winning bidder for the project today. Original bids for the project came in too high.
The project is being funded, in part, with an $83 million Tiger grant, as well as $30 million from the M.T.A. and $10 million or so from the Port Authority.
Work is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year, and wrap up in 2016.
The project's impact will be felt mainly by commuters.
“It’s going to mean easier access to and from the tracks for Long Island Railroad commuters, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak," said Foye.
The authority was careful to present the project as Phase I of a two-part redevelopment that will culminate in the conversion of the Farley post office into an Amtrak terminal and retail center called Moynihan Station.
Though Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust are still the designated developers for Phase II, the project is unfunded and generally considered, at the very least, dormant.
Even so, Foye argued on Tuesday that the completion of this track work, which he called, "the concourse of the new railroad station, of the new Moynihan Station,” would help make the latter a reality.
"The way I’d say it would be that the commencement of construction here later this year is gonna send a message to the development community, to investors, to Related and to Vornado and frankly to the whole community that this project’s gonna happen," said Foye, "And, we would expect that not only is it a precondition to Phase II and the redevelopment of this building, but that it’s commencement will accelerate those discussions and that investment."
Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for Related, said, in an email, "This is an important step forward by the state and we continue to work closely with the state on moving the project forward."
Vornado had no comment.
Here are two more renderings of the project.
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