Rebranded Empire Station Project Continues to Face Headwinds
The Empire Station Complex project initially proposed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, and subsequently modified and rebranded the Pennsylvania Station Civic and Land Use Project by Governor Hochul, is a “comprehensive redevelopment initiative to revitalize the area around Penn Station” by “facilitating approximately 20 million gross square feet of office space, retail, hotel, and potentially residential space on eight designated Project Sites within the Project Area” that is generally bound by 6th and 9th Avenues to the east and west, and by West 30th and West 34th Street to the south and north. Revenues generated by the new development would help fund the reconstruction and potential expansion of Penn Station and other transit or public realm improvements according to the General Project Plan (GPP) adopted February 18, 2021.
Although acquisition of property would be by negotiated purchase with property owners, the State has declared its intention to exercise eminent domain as needed, sparking opposition among some of the landowners within the Project Area and some local elected officials. In addition, upon review of the proposed GPP by the City Planning Commission (CPC) in January 2022, and more recently in May 2022 by the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO), it was indicated that while supporting the intentions of the project, the proposed GPP leaves many open questions related to the financing, transit improvements, and public realm improvements; as well as the impact on state and city finances.
Related documents posted by the ESD: https://esd.ny.gov/penn-station-area-gpp-and-related-documents
NYC Independent Budget Office Report: https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/on-track-or-off-the-rails-new-york-states-plan-to-use-new-development-to-fund-penn-station-improvements-leaves-many-open-questions-for-new-york-city-and-state-may-2022.pdf