The Real Deal New York

Vornado taps Times Square designer for Penn Plaza project

Overhaul of the area will include closing streets as pedestrian walkways

June 03, 2015 05:50PM

One Penn Plaza in Midtown (inset: Steven Roth)

One Penn Plaza in Midtown (inset: Steven Roth)

Vornado Realty Trust has selected a Norwegian architecture firm — also responsible for the Times Square plaza design — to lead its efforts at overhauling the Penn Station area.

The firm, Snohetta, will be designing a master plan for the area, which will likely include building renovations and changes to streetscapes and public areas, Bloomberg reported.

To start, 33rd Street between Seventh Avenue and Madison Square Garden’s loading dock will be entirely closed to traffic from July 19 through October 11 as an experiment that could lead to permanent street closures. The street will be converted to a pedestrian plaza with tables for dining and other entertainment.

Vornado owns over 9 million square feet of properties in the Penn Plaza area and has declared its mission to spruce up the neighborhood and its office stock. Chairman Steve Roth called it the trust’s “Big Kahuna” in a letter to investors in April.

“Snohetta and Vornado are working together to enliven the Penn district,” said Craig Dykers, a founder of Snohetta. “Our goals are to promote comfort and cultivate new identity to the district, dramatically improving the pedestrian, commuter and working environments surrounding what is the busiest transportation hub in America.”

Vornado recently purchased the Old Navy building in nearby Herald Square for $355 million. [Bloomberg] — Tess Hofmann