MTA taps architects for Hochul’s $7 billion Penn Station renovation

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has picked a gaggle of structure and engineering firms to design Governor Kathy Hochul’s $7 billion Penn Station renovation.

The MTA Board on Wednesday voted to approve hiring WSP, FXCollaborative, and British agency John McAslan and Companions for the job at a base contract of $58 million.

The latter agency is behind the overhaul of the King’s Cross Station in London, which might be a promising mannequin for what New York is attempting to do with the darkish and cavernous Penn Station, stated MTA Chairperson and CEO Janno Lieber on the company’s Sept. 21 board assembly.

“That is probably the most significant precedent project for the renovation and reconstruction of existing Penn and we’re thrilled that that teamwork is part of this story,” Lieber stated.

The businesses will likely be tasked with developing with a design for the renovation of the notoriously claustrophobic Manhattan transit hub right into a light-filled and better-connected station based mostly off of the Penn Station Grasp Plan, in line with officers.

The proposal is to knock out a part of the higher ground to create a single-level concourse and a mid-block prepare corridor with a 450-foot skylight.

The MTA’s Building and Growth division will handle the challenge along with Amtrak and NJ Transit, each of whom use the busy station.

The contract is for $57.9 million over 12 months to give you a preliminary design, however the company could job the businesses with add-on providers as a part of the renovation, which might increase the price by tens of tens of millions of {dollars} and prolong the schedule to greater than eight years. 

The choices vary in further value from $3.7 million to $152.7 million, in line with the approved contract

These add-ons embrace extra design work for new connections from Penn to close by subway stations alongside thirty fourth Road, such because the Herald Sq. complicated on sixth Avenue and Broadway, in addition to the seventh and eighth Avenue strains, in line with MTA’s C&D chief Jamie Torres-Springer.

If the additional duties exceed $100 million at the moment budgeted in MTA’s 5 yr capital plan for the work, company officers should come again to the voting board for approval.

Hochul launched bidding for the design contract in June.

The governor pushed ahead large and controversial Penn Station challenge launched beneath her predecessor Andrew Cuomo, which is able to use funds from surrounding property builders to partially pay for the scheme together with a doable future growth of the station to the south with new tracks.

The present renovation doesn’t embrace any added prepare capability.  

The contract strikes the Penn Station challenge forward in order that development can start in 2024.

MTA leaders need to work on the Penn upgrades when there’s much less prepare site visitors there, between the time Grand Central Madison opens to Lengthy Island Rail Street riders on the finish of this yr, and when the company brings Metro-North Railroad commuters into Penn Station through four new stations in the Bronx in 2027.

“We have to take advantage of this window of opportunity when ridership in Penn is significantly reduced,” stated Lieber. “We want to be ready when that new customer pool — who by the way is used to Grand Central, a lot of those people are used to Grand Central, so you know how they’ll feel if they arrive in existing Penn.”

Lieber stated it was additionally for the designers to determine what sort of seating the brand new Penn Station ought to get.

Moynihan Practice Corridor, the primary a part of the brand new Penn Station complicated which opened to Amtrak riders at the start of 2021, suffers from a extreme lack of benches, resulting in riders to sitting on the flooring as they wait for their trains. 

However Lieber wouldn’t say whether or not he thinks benches belong in a modern-day prepare corridor. 

“That’s an abstract question,” he instructed reporters in a press convention after the board assembly. “We’re in a different era and the key issue is circulation and what is good for the riders and people who use the station.”

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