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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


Empire Station, 8th Avenue and 33rd Street (All Empire Crossing renderings courtesy of JDS/SHoP Architects/FXFOWLE)
In 2016, the Empire State Development Corporation gave a tour of Penn Station to many large landlords and builders to submit proposals to overhaul the station by improving the facility, upgrading the interior spaces and entrances, adding new retail, building a large glass opening on Eighth street and potentially relocating the Madison Square Garden theater. Along with Penn Station, the developers were told they could bid on renovating the Farley Post Office Building – now known as Moynihan Train Hall – into retail, office, and hotel spaces. The new Empire Station Complex would become a state-of-the-art transportation hub.

The project, which will be a massive $3 billion, multi-year major renovation, is intended to enhance amenities, improve passenger facilities, increase train capacity, and decrease passenger congestion. Boston Properties, Brookfield, Related Cos., Silverstein Properties, Tishman Speyer, Vornado Realty Trust, Madison Capital and JDS Development all toured the facility.
Vornado Realty Trust and Related were chosen for the Farley Building redevelopment, which is now underway, but as for Penn Station, the future is still unclear. However, now that Vornado will likely renovate 2 Penn Plaza (it rises directly above Penn Station and serves as an entrance to Madison Square Garden) rather than raze and rebuild, a 2016 proposal from JDS Development just might be possible.
Aerial view of JDS' Empire Crossing proposal
New 7th Avenue grand entrance to Empire Station
JDS Development’s proposal, called Empire Crossing, wouldn't touch 2 Penn Plaza but would radically expand Penn Station without interrupting the flow of passengers. Empire Crossing would be a new district "that creates the revenue streams needed to make it a reality" to solve the transit hub's overcapacity issue.

According to their report, they start with the premise that Penn Station is at a breaking point. The intended design capacity of Penn Station was 40,000 people per hour (peak) but as of 2015, Penn Station was 62.5% over design capacity, operating at 65,000 people per hour. And by 2032, it is predicted that it will be 375% over the capacity.
Empire Station interior
Light filled entrance to Empire Station from 8th Avenue
Interior view of South Hall
Light filled concourse
JDS Development compares their proposal to build a new Empire station, which is an “engineered solution” that solves the “critical capacity” issue, to 1816, when "future Governor DeWitt Clinton submitted a petition to create the Erie Canal. Critics as powerful as Thomas Jefferson called it foolish—a dream too big and a century ahead of its time. Acquiring the land would be challenging, construction would be complicated, and financing the project would require unprecedented coordination of both public and private investment. When completed nine years later, it would be called the eighth wonder of the world. Within a decade, the entire cost of construction had been recouped. The Erie Canal did more than just stimulate commerce. It unleashed the power and prominence of New York State through unfettered connectivity. It changed the game. We have the chance to change the game again.”
New 7th Avenue station entrances and pedestrian plaza
There are six key features of their Empire station proposal:

1) Radically expand intermodal connectivity to increase capacity and safety, including, for the first time, dedicated airport and regional high-speed rail service

2) Create a light- and air-filled, energy-efficient station in 60 months by renovating Penn Station and eliminating the current B level.

3) Exercise eminent domain to expand Empire Station with additional tracks to meet forecasted transit demand.

4) Add world-class retail and public green spaces to create the world’s next and best transit station experience.

5) Create a vibrant district and destination with millions of square feet of commercial, civic and infrastructure development opportunities.

6) A fast-track proposed schedule for a 2032 completion in time to fully realize Hudson Gateway Tunnel potential and meet projected demand.
Green roofscape at Empire South
To do this, SHoP Architects and FXCollaborative have designed an attractive, curved glass, airy station entrance that would capture the natural light from the street and diffuse it through the underground station.
Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.
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