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New York Issues Joint Solicitation for Development of Penn Station, Post Office

Developers are being sought to redesign and renovate a landmark Manhattan train station and convert a historic post office to a train hall with retail and commercial space through a public-private partnership.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Jan. 22 the issuance of a joint solicitation containing both a request for expressions of interest and request for qualifications for Penn Station and a request for proposals for the James A. Farley Post Office building, which collectively will form the Empire Station Complex. The solicitation was issued by Empire State Development, the state’s lead economic development agency.

The Penn Station project will include the construction of two grand entrances, one of which will require the acquisition and demolition of the Theater at Madison Square Garden, expansion of corner and midblock entrances, and improvement of retail and public space. New retail space also will be added inside the station, along with new common and public waiting areas and ticketing facilities. Penn Station serves more than 650,000 passengers per day.

Conversion of the Farley Post Office, located directly across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station, will involve fixed-price construction of a 200,000-square-foot train hall, featuring shops, restaurants, about 700,000 square feet of office and retail space, and potentially a hotel. The train hall, to be named for late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, will provide passenger service for Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Amtrak riders, and services for AirTrain customers linking them to area airports, and along with a passenger concourse from Seventh to Ninth avenues connecting to Penn Station. The RFP calls for the Moynihan Train Hall to be completed by December 2018.

The two projects are expected to cost a total of $3 billion, $2 billion of which would be used for the concurrent development of both buildings. Developers would use the remaining $1 billion to renovate the Farley Building for retail and office use. The U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Amtrak would pay a total of $325 million. The remainder would be funded through private investment in exchange for the right to develop, operate and collect rents on retail and commercial space in the complex.

Construction of a concourse west of Eighth Avenue to provide direct access to LIRR and Amtrak tracks and connect the Moynihan Train Hall to Penn Station under 33rd Street is underway. Work on both projects is expected to start after new plazas and street-level entrances into the future train building are completed in September.

This project marks the state’s second attempt to develop the post office building into a train facility. The potential developers of that 10-year-old plan, Related Companies and Vornado Realty, can compete for these projects, reported The New York Times.

Developers can compete for one P3 but are encouraged to pursue both. The deadline for RFPs and RFIs/RFQs is April 22.

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