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Old Posted Jan 7, 2020, 4:55 AM
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Cuomo backs plan to acquire block south of Penn Station to increase track capacity

Anna Sanders
JAN 06, 2020

New York state would acquire the block south of Penn Station to create a new terminal and increase track capacity at the transit hub under a preexisting plan backed by Gov. Cuomo on Monday.

The state would try to purchase the properties between 30th and 31st Sts. and Seventh and Eighth Aves. to allow for the expansion of Penn Station’s underground infrastructure, according to Cuomo’s office, and use eminent domain as a last resort.

This would pave the way for at least eight new tracks on top of the 21 already in use at Penn Station, a 40% boost in capacity to serve 175,000 people daily.

“The problem with Penn Station is the functionality, the track capacity,” Cuomo said at a luncheon hosted by the Association for a Better New York, a group of business leaders.

“Sometimes there is no little fix that works and this is one of those situations,” Cuomo added. “We believe the best alternative is to expand by acquiring the block south of Penn Station and increasing the footprint that way.”
The block south of Penn includes 22 properties. “Amtrak owns property there, the Archdiocese of New York, office, residential-use and community facilities," Cuomo said. “The state will plan to acquire it for public use. We’re already speaking to people.”

The state will also explore acquiring and converting the Theater at Madison Square Garden into a new entrance on Eighth Ave., which would also bring light into Penn Station.

The plan is part of the so-called “Empire Station Complex” that would also include the new Moynihan Train Hall, which is expected to open in the Farley Post Office on Eighth Ave. at the end of this year, along with the renovation of the current Penn Station and the expanded tracks south of Penn.

Cuomo’s office insisted the plan is not the same as “Penn South,” an expansion that has already been studied by Amtrak as part of its Gateway proposal to build two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

“We are pleased to see a comprehensive plan that encompasses not only the Station itself, but also the district surrounding it,” Regional Plan Association president and CEO Tom Wright 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.”
Cuomo’s office said that the new 125,000-square foot terminal south of Penn would have six entrances and exits that would reduce and dissipate congestion and enhance safety. The terminal would include retail development.

The governor didn’t say exactly how much the plan would cost, but said the new terminal would be paid for with revenue generated by the project.

The state will use “value capture” to fund the improvements with payments in lieu of taxes — voluntary payments made by organizations as a substitute for regular property taxes — along with income from new commercial development.

Urban planning consultants FXCollaborative have already been contracted to help carry out the plan.

Cuomo's plan for 'world-class' Penn Station adds 8 tracks to boost capacity

By Alfonso A. Castillo
January 6, 2020

Cuomo said the new Empire Station Complex, resulting from combined projects, would be triple the size of the existing transit hub and provide a "world-class experience" to the 650,000 travelers who use it daily. Included in the complex would be the forthcoming Moynihan Train Hall, west of Penn, and a proposed reconstruction of the station that could entail knocking down the Hulu Theater.

The agency would then begin negotiations with the various property owners on the block bordered by 7th and 8th avenues and 31st and 30th streets. The block currently houses office and retail space, restaurants, Amtrak facilities and St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.

The governor suggested new development on the block would largely finance the project's cost, including through tax incentive programs and increased income and sales tax revenues.

Andrew Cuomo pitches Penn Station plan that includes taking over part of MSG

By David Meyer and Nolan Hicks
January 6, 2020

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to expand Midtown’s run-down Penn Station transit hub, saying Monday he’s even considering demolishing part of the Madison Square Garden complex to get it done.

“Penn Station has been another example of paralysis, and government paralysis,” Cuomo told the audience at a Manhattan luncheon for the pro-business group Association for a Better New York.

“Penn Station has been another example of paralysis, and government paralysis,” Cuomo told the audience at a Manhattan luncheon for the pro-business group Association for a Better New York.
“Plans to reimagine Penn Station have never proceeded, and the plans have always focused” on the Garden, he added.

That’s because the complex that is home to the Knicks and Rangers sits atop the land that once held Pennsylvania Station’s magnificent sun-drenched train hall, which was destroyed to make room for the arena complex, giving birth to the preservationist movement in New York in the process.

Activists have called for years for the World’s Most Famous Arena, as MSG bills itself to be torn down or reconfigured as part of any Penn Station rebuild to restore natural lighting and to simplify the engineering of the project, demands that Cuomo resisted.

.....However, the governor’s new plan does make a slight concession and calls for the state to “explore” taking over a piece of the complex — the MSG Theater, which is now known as the Hulu Theater — to build a new a dramatic new entrance to the station on 8th Avenue.
NEW YORK heals.

“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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