Hochul taps team to redesign Penn Station

State’s one-year contract worth up to $58M

Governor Kathy Hochul with rendering of redesigned Penn Station (Getty, MTA)
Governor Kathy Hochul with rendering of redesigned Penn Station (Getty, MTA)

State officials have awarded a contract of up to $57.9 million to redesign Penn Station.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that a joint venture between FXCollaborative Architects and WSP USA will complete preliminary design and engineering work on the project, which would create a 250,000-square-foot, single-level facility at the labyrinthine station.

British architect John McAslan + Partners, which redesigned London’s historic King’s Cross Station a decade ago, will collaborate on the project.

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Hochul had requested proposals in June for the redesign. The state sent the RFP to more than 100 prequalified firms but received only five proposals. FXCollaborative and WSP had a leg up in the contest, given that they developed the preferred vision for the station as part of a master plan for the station unveiled last year.

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In July, the Public Authorities Control Board approved an agreement between the city and state to partially fund the station’s renovation, along with a separate project that would expand Penn to the south.

The state plans to pay for some of the renovation and expansion of Penn with revenue from 10 new towers to be built near the station. The development is expected to ultimately create 18 million square feet of commercial space and at least 1,172 apartments.

State officials estimate that payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, could generate as much as $3.75 billion for the renovation and expansion of Penn, as well as for various public and transit improvements. The state still needs to figure out how to cover the remaining $3.25 billion in costs.

Critics have argued that the plan neglects to explore alternatives — such as moving Madison Square Garden or transforming Penn into a through-running station — and is a giveaway to developers, especially Vornado Realty Trust, ​ which is poised to develop five of the eight tower sites.

Steve Roth’s real estate investment trust already plans to build a 2.7-million-square-foot office tower on the site of the former Hotel Pennsylvania.