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Cuomo: Revamped Penn Station to become a destination by 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo has just unveiled a new Moynihan Train Hall that will operate both Amtrak and LIRR services and include 700,000 s/f of retail and office space.

A new concourse will connect Penn Station to the Moynihan Train Hall and state-of-the-art security will make it one of the most secure facilities in the country.

Speaking at the Association for a Better New York, the Governor announced the selection of a developer-builder team that includes Related Companies, Vornado Realty and Skanska AB, who will redevelop the historic former Farley Post Office building into a 255,000 s/f transportation hub.

After 20 years of delay, the governor said construction will begin this fall under a new, $1.3 billion fixed-price design-build contract issued as part of the $100 billion infrastructure package that he unveiled earlier this year to modernize the state’s bridges, tunnels, airports and roads.

The Long Island Rail Road concourses at Penn Station will all be rebuilt and redone by the MTA. Meanwhile, the Empire State Development Corporation will work with Amtrak to redevelop the other portions of Penn Station. “Pennsylvania Station gets 650,000 passengers per day – more than all the airports combined,ˮ said Gov. Cuomo. “It is triple the capacity that the facility was designed for and it is not representative of New York. It is dirty, it is dingy, it is dark and … the equivalent of the LaGuardia Airport, which has now become a national laughing stock. It is decrepit and it’s affront to riders to use it.”

Cuomo said the new train hall will be “magnificentˮ adding, “It will become a destination in and of itself. This will all be high-end. This will be the best of the best. It will have every new accommodation used in any train hall or airport anywhere on the globe.ˮ

The governor blamed the 20 years of delays in revamping the space to conceptual flaws and… implementation flaws” in previous plans. He said that it would have been a mistake to rebuild Farley and then relocate Amtrak to the space, pointing out that the Long Island Rail Road has almost eight times more riders. He also criticized a plan that would have had the local government rebuild the station, saying: “You know what government doesn’t know? Government does not know how to build.”

The real estate industry was quick to applaud Cuomo’s initiative. “New York is the greatest city in the world, but for too long it has been home to an overcrowded and antiquated Penn Station,” said New York Building Congress President Richard Anderson. “The transformed Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex will finally give both New Yorkers and visitors a modern transportation hub that offers all the amenities that the riders of today deserve.”

The governor said the new Penn station concourses will “give you a sense of openness as opposed to claustrophobia and suffocation that you now get.ˮ

And Cuomo assured New Yorkers, “This is not a plan. I don’t announce plans with caveats. This is what is going to happen.ˮ

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