Cuomo reveals $51B plan to redevelop Midtown West, replace Port Authority

January 15, 2021

All renderings courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to transform over 100 acres of Midtown West as part of a new “transit-oriented” development. The $51 billion proposal adds a new train hall south of Penn Station, replaces the Port Authority Bus Terminal, extends the High Line, and adds up to 1,400 units of new affordable housing. The project is one part of the governor’s proposed $306 billion infrastructure plan, introduced on Thursday during his fourth 2021 State of the State address.

Renderings of a renovated existing Penn Station

“Now we will expand our vision with a new Manhattan Midtown West development project to create a new West Side transit hub, and build upon it with new residential, commercial and public works projects that will combine to form a new, vibrant, exciting district extending over 140 acres,” Cuomo said. “Now 140 acres may not sound like much in Upstate New York, but in Manhattan it is massive.”

Parts of the Midtown West redevelopment project is already complete, including the new Moynihan Train Hall, which opened at the historic Farley Building this month, and a new Long Island Rail Road entrance at 33rd and 7th Avenue. At the center of the project is Penn Station, which Cuomo described on Thursday as a “cluster of catacombs.”

Designed to handle 250,000 commuters per day but saw 650,000 in 2019, the transit hub is one of the nation’s busiest. To add transit capacity and commuter comfort, Cuomo wants to create the Empire Station Complex, which would link an upgraded Penn Station, the Moynihan Train Hall, and a new terminal, dubbed Penn South, that will be built one block south of the existing site. The plan, first introduced by the governor in 2016, would add eight new tracks and increase train capacity by 40 percent at the station.

The Empire Station Complex plan includes acquiring a stretch of property south of Penn Station, currently owned partly by Amtrak and the Archdiocese of New York. The new hub requires full funding for the Gateway Project, which includes the construction of two new Hudson River rail tunnels and the renovation of two existing tunnels. While President Donald Trump never agreed to split the bill for the project, Cuomo said President-elect Joe Biden will be a “champion of national infrastructure investment.”

Rendering of future Port Authority Bus Terminal

Plans to renovate, replace, or relocate the Port Authority Bus Terminal have been on the table for a long time. In May 2019, the agency released three options to fix the troubled building, which included either rebuilding the terminal while buses used the existing terminal, using the lower level of the Javits Center, or just renovating the existing terminal instead of rebuilding from the ground up. No additional details were provided by the governor except that the bus terminal will be replaced with a new “state-of-the-art facility.”

“We will completely redevelop the terminal, adding space for commercial development, dramatically improving the commuting experience, removing bus traffic and pollution from the surrounding community,” Cuomo said during Thursday’s address.

The $51 billion project also includes a residential component, in addition to retail and commercial space. According to Cuomo, the plan could create up to 1,400 units at “14 building sites available” in an area stretching from Broadway to the Hudson.

High Line expansion proposal

Rendering of Pier 76 as a public park

And earlier this week, the governor announced plans to extend the High Line from its current 10th Avenue terminus with a new L-shaped elevated walkway that will connect to the public plaza at Manhattan West, a mixed-use development from Brookfield Property Group. The extended elevated park would end on 9th Avenue, across from the entrance to the new Moynihan Train Hall.

Cuomo also wants to extend the High Line from 34th Street and 12th Avenue past the Javits Center and cross the West End Highway, ending at Pier 76 at Hudson River Park, currently a tow pound run by the NYPD. In his 2020 State of the State address, Cuomo unveiled plans to redevelop the site, which will be vacated by the end of the month, as a 5.6-acre public park

“Connecting the High Line to Hudson River Park is something we have explored since our earliest days as an organization,” Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of the High Line, said in a statement.

“Our communities and neighborhood groups have expressed overwhelming support for this connection, which would give people the ability to walk from Penn Station to Hudson River Park and only have to cross one street. The plan would not only improve public safety and mobility in the area, but also serve as way for New Yorkers to better access all of the incredible offerings in the district.”

Other major infrastructure projects include continuing the redevelopment of LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports, completing phase two of the Second Avenue Subway extension, developing the UBS Arena at Belmont Park, and much more.


All renderings courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office 

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