Cuomo revives plan to overhaul Penn Station and create new Empire Station Complex

January 6, 2020

Rendering of new entrance on 8th Avenue to Penn Station via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is returning to one of his favorite infrastructure proposals: the overhaul of Penn Station. During an event on Monday hosted by the Association for a Better New York, the governor announced plans to build the Empire Station Complex, a station that would link a modernized Penn Station, the soon-to-be-open Moynihan Train Hall, and a new terminal 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, which currently serves more than 650,000 passengers each day.

Via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

The Empire Station Complex plan includes acquiring a stretch of property south of Penn Station and building a new terminal, allowing for eight new underground tracks. The new property is currently owned partly by Amtrak and the Archdiocese of New York.

The expansion would be the first at the station since its foundation was completed in 1910. According to the governor, the state is also looking to obtaining the Madison Square Garden Theatre (now known as the Hulu Theater) in order to make a new entrance to the complex on 8th Avenue.

The state has tapped FXCollaborative to lead the design team, which consists of Empire State Development officials, Amtrak, the MTA and other stakeholders.

“This expansion in the block south of Penn — combined with the soon-to-be-completed Moynihan Train Hall and the transformation of the existing Penn facility — will create an interconnected, world-class Empire Station Complex that will expand capacity by 40 percent,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“This will improve how more than half a million New Yorkers commute, travel and work every day, while transforming Penn into the world-class facility the Empire State deserves.”

The plan will be “self-funded,” according to Cuomo, due to a value-capture framework of Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) and income from the new commercial district. This income will pay for Penn Station’s revitalization.

The Empire Station Complex proposal has been on Cuomo’s agenda since 2016. He first presented the plan to the Association for a Better New York in September of 2016 as part of his ongoing plan to create a “world-class 21st-century transportation hub.” Since then, the Long Island Rail Road corridor has been expanded with a new public plaza and the new Moynihan Train Hall is nearing completion.

The Regional Plan Association, a non-profit which included the unification of Penn Station in its Fourth Regional Plan, applauded Cuomo’s announcement. “We are pleased to see a comprehensive plan that encompasses not only the Station itself, but also the district surrounding it,” Tom Wright, the president of RPA, said in a statement. “Adding transit capacity and prioritizing safety is critical to the success of the region and for the hundreds of thousands of people that rely on the Station regularly.”

The cost for the project’s next phase has not yet been released. See the governor’s full presentation on the Empire Station Complex and the expansion of Penn Station here.


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