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Rendering of new Penn Station (Governor Hochul's office) Rendering of new Penn Station (Governor Hochul's office)
At the beginning of summer 2022, the state of New York began accepting proposals from architects and engineers to redevelop the much-maligned Penn Station into an airy, single-story, 250,000-square-foot train hall. They promised to announce the winner in late summer or early fall; true to their word, the announcement came on the last day of summer: Architect FXCollaborative and engineer WSP USA were chosen for the project. They will work in collaboration with John McAslan + Co., the London-based architect known for bringing the historic King's Cross Station into the 21st century.
Construction is expected to commence in the coming months, and would come on the heels of such piecemeal improvements as a new entrance on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 33rd Street, raised ceiling heights in the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) corridor, and the celebrated opening of Moynihan Train Hall. MTA chairman Janno Lieber points out that when LIRR trains begin running to Grand Central Terminal (estimated for the end of the year), this will decrease customer volume and allow work to take place with minimized disruption.

“The transformation of Penn Station cannot come soon enough”
– We concur, Governor Hochul

Penn Station interiors
Penn Station plaza
The proposed plan for Penn Station is a variation on the proposed Empire Station Complex proposed by then-Governor Cuomo in April 2021. Upon completion, the station will improve accessibility through 18 new escalators, 11 new elevators, eight new station entrances, and an underground connection to the 34th Street-Herald Square subway stop a block away. While the plan also calls for improved retail and passenger amenities, there are reportedly no plans to add benches near the train entrances (h/t Hell Gate).
In addition to sprucing up the train station itself, the plan calls for such public improvements as widening the sidewalks, adding protected bike lanes and bike parking, and building a new 30,000-square-foot public plaza. The redevelopment plan dubbed Penn District also calls for 10 new towers with office space, retail space, and 1,800 new residential units (a portion of which will be permanently affordable).
Proponents cheer the move as one that will breathe new life into the area, especially as central business districts continue to struggle in the wake of the pandemic, but critics call it a ploy to line the pockets of Penn District developer Vornado Realty Trust. Either way, an improved train station has the potential to make the surrounding area more attractive to residents. Some developers haven't been waiting on the official announcement, but have gotten busy on projects set to come to fruition around the time the new station does.

Future Residential Development

300 West 30th Street
Developed by Eastern Star Development | Design by Studio C Architecture
16 stories | 69 units
Completion estimated for late 2022

300-West-30th-Street-01 (l-r) Rendering (Studio C Architecture); summer 2022 (CityRealty)
Just south of Penn Station, a glistening new residential tower has risen on the former site of the Riff Hotel (which was decidedly not part of the continued NoMad hospitality renaissance). Permits indicate no more than six units per floor, and all apartments will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, interiors by Workshop/APD, and in-unit washer/dryers. Amenities are set to include a fitness center and coworking space on the second floor, a central laundry room on the cellar level, a bike room, an outdoor terrace on the 12th floor, and private storage for purchase. A sales launch is on the horizon with prices expected to start at $950K.

241 West 28th Street
Developed by MAG Partners | Design by COOKFOX
22 stories | 479 units
Completion estimated for late 2022

241-West-28th-Street-01 241 West 28th Street (COOKFOX)
A few blocks south of Penn Station, and just up the street from Fashion Institute of Technology, a two-towered, 400,000-square-foot through-block development has breathed new life into a vacant lot. The apartments will start above 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and 30 percent have been designated as permanently affordable under the Affordable NY program. COOKFOX's commitment to biophilic design principles comes through in a planted canopy above the entrance, a central courtyard and garden, and a series of terraces and rooftop gardens. Indoor amenities are set to include a children’s playroom, pet spa, fitness rooms, bike room, lounge, and pool.
241-West-28th-Street-02 241 West 28th Street, September 2022 (CityRealty)

201-207 Seventh Avenue
Developed by Department of Housing Preservation and Development in partnership with Asian Americans for Equality | Design by Chi F. Lau Architect
9 stories | 26 units
Completion estimated for 2025

201-207-Seventh-Avenue-01 201-207 Seventh Avenue (HPD)
Earlier this summer, a street corner a few blocks south of Penn Station attracted considerable attention when it was announced that when a new building was complete, it would sell co-op apartments for $2,500 (not a typo!). However, it is important to note that this offer applies only to five units reserved for families living in the rowhouses currently on the site and displaced by the construction. The remaining 21 units will be made available for purchase for households earning 130% of the Area Median Income.

The rowhouses on the site date back to before the Civil War, but have since become so structurally unsound that when HPD took over the project in 2018, they realized they would have to demolish the entire site and rebuild from the ground up. Construction is expected to commence in early 2023 and take approximately two years.

335 Eighth Avenue
Developed by MAG Partners | Design by COOKFOX
8 stories | 200 units
Completion TBD

335-Eighth-Avenue-01 Rendering (COOKFOX)
Around the corner from 241 West 28th Street (see above), MAG Partners and COOKFOX reunite on the redevelopment of affordable housing cooperative Penn South. The aging building on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 27th Street will be spruced up into a 200-unit building with new commercial space, which will include a grocery store.

It is important to note that the improvements will not be embarked on to drive out low-income residents. Under the Affordable NY program, 30 percent of units will be reserved for low- and middle-income households. Moreover, MAG Partners’ plan to develop and operate the building under a long-term ground lease will help Penn South maintain long-term affordability.
335-Eighth-Avenue-02 335 Eighth Avenue, September 2022 (CityRealty)

Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden (CityRealty)
Between Harry Styles's summer residency, a star-studded Pearl Jam show, and Billy Joel's record-breaking residency that shows no sign of ending, there was a lot to see at Madison Square Garden this summer. However, considerable drama has played out surrounding the arena itself in recent days.

Elected officials and travelers alike are of the opinion that moving Madison Square Garden, which has been above Penn Station since 1968, is instrumental in improving the train station, letting more light in, and revitalizing the neighborhood. Mayor Bloomberg proposed moving the arena to the Far West Side; more recently, Mayor Adams spoke in favor of moving it, saying new housing stock could rise on the site.
However, Madison Square Garden shows no sign of budging. In 2013, the city issued the arena a 10-year permit that would give its ownership time to find a new home; this came on the heels of a renovation that suggests they have a long-haul plan in mind. Additionally, in November 2021, ownership signed a 20-year lease for a 428,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at redeveloped office tower PENN 2. In spring 2021, Related proposed moving Madison Square Garden to a new arena in Hudson Yards, but the idea was rejected. Moreover, the Penn Station plan calls for keeping Madison Square Garden where it is, but demolishing the Hulu Theater to accommodate a better entrance to the train station.

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