RFP issued for Newark Penn Station redesign

Aug. 30, 2021
New Jersey and NJ Transit are seeking proposals that will strike a balance between restoring Newark Penn Station’s grandeur and delivering modern amenities.

New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and the state of New Jersey have issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Master Planning, Conceptual, Preliminary and Final Design and Construction Assistance Services contract associated with the $190-million renovation of Newark Penn Station – a building of historic significance to the state and nation.

NJ Transit describes the project as “reimaging an icon” and the RFP is seeking proposals to restore and modernize the station.

“Newark Penn Station is a focal point of the Northeast Corridor and is a gateway to our state for many travelers,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “This major renovation and restoration project is an important step in the continuing revitalization of Newark. With this significant investment, our state’s largest city will greet commuters and travelers in a manner worthy of it’s great history and stature.”

NJ Transit says proposals will be evaluated on their ability to ensure the station features amenities and functions will meet the modern-day expectations of customers, residents and businesses.

Newark Penn Station was dedicated in 1935 and the project aims to restore the grandeur of the station while adding modern amenities.

“The release of this RFP helps us ensure that the enduring legacy of Newark Penn Station be protected while simultaneously improving and renovating the station to fit current customer needs,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.

The multi-phase plan calls for $30 million in improvements followed by an additional $160 million in work over the next five years. According to information on NJ Transit’s website, improvements to the station include:

  • Pedestrian access improvements and landscaping amenities around the exterior of the facility;
  • Welcoming entrances from both the Gateway and Ironbound sides with improved lighting;
  • A restored grand waiting room;
  • A lighter, brighter concourse with new air circulation and climate control;
  • Refreshed, environmentally friendly restrooms with modern amenities;
  • Improved signage, announcement systems and digital information displays throughout the station; and
  • Renewed escalators and expanded elevators to enhance customer flow and expand ADA accessibility.

The state committed to funding the renovation in December 2020, with the first phase of improvements focused on aesthetics such as restoration of the classic benches in the waiting room, installation of brighter lighting, updating of the bathrooms, improved HVAC and air-handling, fresh paint and tile, and a deep clean of the limestone exterior to once again showcase the architecturally significant façade.

NJ Transit says longer-term enhancements will focus on improving the station’s openness, light and overall commuter and visitor experience.

“Through the release of this RFP, we will transform Newark Penn Station – building on the significant work already underway as part of a master plan that focuses on both state-of-good-repair work and major infrastructure improvements to enhance every aspect of the customer experience,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “NJ Transit thanks both Gov. Murphy and Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti for recognizing the urgent need to restore Newark Penn – one of the busiest, most historic and most vital multi-modal transportation hubs in our region – to its former glory.”

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.