New York City Empire Station Complex takes step forward

Feb. 22, 2021
The proposal would deliver an integrated rail hub, as well as more than 20 million gross square feet of mixed-use development.

The Empire State Development Board of Directors last week adopted the General Project Plan and certified the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the area surrounding Penn Station, which is part of the Empire Station Complex. The complex project, first proposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016 and among his priority projects in 2020, would renovate and expand New York Penn Station capacity through the construction of additional tracks.

Empire State Development explains the complex would serve as an integrated intercity rail hub encompassing the existing Penn Station, its expansion and the newly opened Moynihan Train Hall. Additionally, the proposal for the Empire Station Complex “aims to catalyze transit-oriented development” on eight sites that would generate revenue to fund the renovation and expansion of Penn Station and develop approximately 20 million gross square feet of office, retail, hotel and possible residential space.

"The Moynihan Train Hall's successful completion was a milestone, but it's only the first step in a neighborhood-wide revitalization. The Empire Station Complex project represents the next great investment in our efforts to rebuild and expand this crucial piece of our state's infrastructure and will support economic growth in New York City and across the entire state,” said Gov. Cuomo.

The governor’s office notes the plan introduces public transportation improvements, including new entrances and access ways to Penn Station and nearby public transit, and public space improvements to address open space and pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular circulation and enhancements of the surrounding streetscape.

Three of the eight proposed sites (Blocks 780, 754 and 806) would accommodate the potential expansion of Penn Station into the blocks south of the existing station to allow for the creation of new, below-grade tracks and platforms. The adopted plan for these sites would require that the above-grade mixed-use development accommodate the potential expansion under the sites and adjoining streets. The design, construction and operation of an expanded Penn Station, which is being analyzed as part of a separate planning and federal environmental review process, would be assumed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Amtrak and the New Jersey Transit Authority.

A virtual public hearing on the DEIS and GPP will take place on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., followed by a 30-day public comment period.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
The Moynihan Train Hall’s skylight includes an acre of glass. The hall also features a signature clock designed to evoke the nostalgia of rail travel.