Vornado to make big investment in Penn Station area

Area's biggest landlord to improve retail space and infrastructure and add public plazas

From left: Steven Roth, Penn Station and 1 Penn Plaza
From left: Steven Roth, Penn Station and 1 Penn Plaza

Vornado Realty Trust is looking to upgrade the area around Penn Station, by investing money in retail space, public plazas and infrastructure.

Office buildings in the blocks surrounding the station are currently considered to be in a second-rate location, which causes them to bring in relatively low rents, according to the Wall Street Journal. Vornado, which owns roughly 9 million square feet in the area, is looking to invest hundreds of millions of dollars. If the REIT succeeds, it could add significant value to its properties, such as the 57-story 1 Penn Plaza.

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“There is no reason that we cannot achieve very, very substantial rising rents in Penn Plaza — very substantial, enormous — with a little TLC,” Vornado Chief Executive Steven Roth said during a Citigroup investor conference last month, the newspaper reported. “That’s going to be the principal focus of Vornado in the next short period of time, (the) next couple of years.”

Plans aren’t yet finalized, but some ideas include tearing down some old retail on the same block as 1 Penn Plaza and adding new retail space as well as remaking some entrances to Penn Station itself to ease congestion.

Roth — who is known to be indecisive at times when it comes to large projects, according to the newspaper  — seems to be focused on the Penn Station revamp. He has hired Marc Ricks, a former economic development official from the Bloomberg Administration, to work on the plan. [WSJ] — Claire Moses