Governor Cuomo’s ‘Empire Station Complex’ Masterplan Enters Next Phase of Development

Map depicts proposed building massing within Empire State Complex - Empire State DevelopmentMap depicts proposed building massing within Empire State Complex - Empire State Development

Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Empire State Complex, a major redevelopment initiative for the area surrounding Pennsylvania Station. The project team is now completing a final scope of work, which will take into consideration the many comments received from community activists, experts, and officials since a scoping meeting on July 20, 2020.

Governor Cuomo’s primary objective is to deliver a world-class hub of transportation for the millions of New Yorkers, tourists, and commuters that pass through Penn Station each year.

In total, the complex will comprise 19.6 million square feet. This includes 14.3 million square feet of commercial office space, 800,00 square feet of retail, 800,000 square feet of hotel space, and unspecified “non-program area.” If successful, the project will also create a seamless link between Penn Station and the new Moynihan Train Hall, in addition to eight new train tracks, new subway station entrances, stairways, widened platforms, and ADA-compliant access points.

From east to west, the Empire State Complex is bound by Sixth Avenue and Ninth Avenue and spans from West 30th Street to West 34th Street. There are dozens of buildings within the project area, which is organized into eight distinct blocks of project sites. The most notable structures include Pennsylvania Station, Madison Square Garden, Moynihan Train Hall, and the Farley Office Building.

Map depicts proposed transportation enhancements within Empire State Complex - Empire State Development

Map depicts proposed transportation enhancements within Empire State Complex – Empire State Development

Map depicts location for the Empire State Complex - Empire State Development

Map depicts location for the Empire State Complex – Empire State Development

Before construction can break ground, an environmental assessment will also need to take place to consider the potential effects of shadows cast by the new structures, changes to the pedestrian experience, water and sewer infrastructure, public health, and the potential effects on nearby historic buildings. These buildings include the James A. Farley Complex, Hotel Pennsylvania, the church and rectory of St. John the Baptist, the Fairmont Building, the Penn Station Service Building, and some loft buildings on 31st Street.

An estimated cost for the complex has not been revealed. However, according to Governor Cuomo, the project is “self-funded” by city income and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) fees that are issued to manufacturing, industrial, and not-for-profit companies. According to a preliminary schedule from New York’s Empire State Development agency, the final scope of work will be presented toward the end of 2021.

At this time, it is assumed the entire project will be completed by 2038.

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19 Comments on "Governor Cuomo’s ‘Empire Station Complex’ Masterplan Enters Next Phase of Development"

  1. David in Bushwick | August 21, 2020 at 8:32 am | Reply

    14.5m sf office space and 800k sf retail? This project seems so 10 years ago. The city already has too much new office space and clearly too much retail space.
    What the city does not have is enough affordable housing for all the people who aren’t millionaires.

  2. “It is assumed the entire project will be completed by 2038”
    G-d willing we will all still be here!

    • I’m live in Phoenix now where few know why it’s G-d willing. In any event, I’ll be 72 in a couple of weeks. And I’m one of those old retired cardiac crippled NY trial lawyers. I remember well when the “old” Penn Station was torn down and the “new” one opened with the fourth Mad Sq Garden in ’68, just before I became a Marine. Although I’ll never make it to the third Penn Station, I at least made it to the third “new” LaGuardia and JFK airports, and the second Koskiusko, Goethal’s and Tappan Zee bridges. As for the third projected PA Bus Terminal, it’s a good idea to keep Jerseyites working in NY. And the new tubes to replace and add to the old Penn RR tunnels under the Hudson? Good luck with that. The massive building of expressways when I was a kid in the 50s is a thing of the past. The wealth of this country is now skewed to such an extent that taxes and municipal bonds can’t be supported to provide public improvements on the scale needed. As far as I can discern, having now lived a lifetime, the end came with Reagen and his bludgeoning of government, civil servants and unions.

      • So in other words you spent your life doing everything possible to ruin New York, and then you shipped out to Phoenix where you’re doing everything possible to ruin Arizona. Thanks.

  3. This is kind of interesting looking, but I don’t know if it should come to reality. Overall, I think this so-called “Empire State Complex” is really a waste of time for NYC to work on. Instead, we should maybe prioritize on projects such as the World Trade Center or Hudson Yards, and not all these other mediocre projects funded by the government.
    By the way, this 2038 completion date is absolutely ridiculous. See you in eighteen years everyone! 😂

  4. Retail space please waste of money and time. we got enough sitting empty all over the city. Affordable housing is the answer to keep the city alive.A ghost town after 6pm.

  5. We can start by tearing down Madison Square, replacing it with a rebuilt Penn. Hopefully there will no more all glass structures.

    • That would help on the Eighth Avenue end but the throngs of commuters are, at least with recent patterns, on the Seventh Avenue side. The lost opportunity now is to re-imagine the Seventh Avenue side. In return for something Related wants, added bulk on a nearby project perhaps, the plaza along Seventh and the current passage to MSG and Two Penn Plaza lobby would be relocated to create a large entrance and light that accesses both underground levels of Penn. The Cuomo project helps along 33rd to the LIRR level but the whole station would benefit if what is currently a few escalators and stairs across from 32nd Street is increased to five times the current size, with associated reconfiguration of retail and station backspace below. Open it all up. It doesn’t address the track and platform issues caused by trying to use a through station as the terminal for commuter lines from east and west, but it would address the concourse access issue for the bulk of commuters entering at Seventh Avenue.

  6. This plan is a giant waste of money and effort. Penn doesn’t need more tracks to operate more efficiently; it needs more through-running trains. For that, it needs a tunnel connection to Grand Central, a scheme that was once considered in the planning for the now-abandoned ARC tunnel to NJ. Currently, only Amtrak trains pass through Penn in revenue service. Some NJ Transit trains run east to storage in Sunnyside Yard and some LIRR trains run west to layup in the West Side Yard. But many other NJT and LIRR trains idle in the station, waiting to make a reverse trip. If every train through Penn idled only long enough to load and unload passengers, the station could dramatically increase its throughput and could, in fact, operate smoothly with fewer tracks than it has today. Covering over a few of the existing tracks to enlarge platforms would produce further efficiency gains, as reduced crowding would decrease dwell times. For passengers, the option to disembark at either Penn or Grand Central would be a huge added convenience. (Though not all trains would use the Penn-GCT connection; there would be multiple operating patterns with many trains continuing to use the existing East River tubes.) Cuomo’s track-adding plan is akin to fixing your leaking roof by adding more buckets rather than patching the leak. And the office/retail component is superfluous to the operation of the station (though encouraging development near a transit hub is always welcome).

  7. We are still waiting for the completion of the World Trade Center complex, almost 20 years later. And when will the full 2nd Avenue subway line be completed? When will all subway stations have elevators? What about The Gateway Program (Northeast Corridor), is it done yet? And what about…

  8. OneNYersOpinion | August 21, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Reply

    Plenty of time to design imaginative and engaging pedestrian routes & retail from Broadway to the Hudson River. Unfortunately, instead of something truly different and attractive, the retail (incl street-level) will likely follow the bland, unimaginative style of WTC and Hudson Yards. Big box in big glass meets builder’s criteria, but NYC has surpassed the tipping point of such poor retail design. A better plan to draw pedestrians E-W is called for, but sadly, there is Z-E-R-O sign of coordinated effort (Hudson River Park, Hudson Yards, Manhattan West, Highline, Empire Station Complex, Herald Square).

  9. Matthew Cummings | August 21, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Reply

    What about a new world class Pennsylvania Rail Road Station? I mean, it’s only the businest commuter rail station in the country and it’s like a maze of dank caverns!

  10. Much of this will remain completely empty. Those who can have already fled NY. Perhaps they can stand as monuments to the stupidity and incompetence of the political class that are well on they way to destroying the once greatest city in the world.

  11. The gov’s Master Plan needs to include getting rid of Dolan

  12. Demoloish MSG and rebuild to old penn but up to modern spec. Thats the best way forward – everything else is just sad.

  13. Demolishing Hotel Penslyvannia, Blocking the View of One Penn Plaza, Old Navy retail building and etc, smh.

    Why don’t we build Affordable Housing instead of this boondoggle project.

  14. This is a dumb plan.

    Half of this should be affordable housing, a quarter market rate, and a quarter office and hotel.

    1. Becauase we need more affordable housing and putting it on top of the best transit in the city is where it should go.
    2. There needs be a more lively corridor between hudson yards and midtown, right now it’s like walking through deserted canyons, horrible, putting housing there will liven things up a bit and make the area that much more pleasant.
    3. We need more affordable housing.
    4. We need more affordable housing.
    5. Housing will do more to support a 24/7 economy in Midtown than a bunch of empty glass towers will.

    Put Vishaan in charge and call it a day.

    There I fixed it.

  15. I miss Penn Station (McKim, Mead & White)…really.

  16. DOA. Retail space was killed by online shopping, and Covid-19 & remote work killed office space.

    Has Cuomo considered replacing these with residential towers? Those would be popular.

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