Former Governor Andrew Cuomo's controversial plan to revamp Penn Station and bring new development to the surrounding neighborhood will move forward under Governor Kathy Hochul - with some changes.

Rendering of revamped Penn StationEmpire State Development Corporation

"I'm reimagining the New York City commuter experience. New Yorkers do not deserve what they have been subjected to for decades at Penn Station," said Hochul in a statement. "The era of neglecting our Penn Station commuters and the neighboring community is over. New York leaders are expected to offer visionary ideas and take bold actions, and that's exactly what my proposed transformation of Penn Station accomplishes. This plan puts New Yorkers first, delivering the rider-focused transit experience and great neighborhood they deserve. Investing in Penn Station means investing in New York's future as we recover from COVID and build a more sustainable, livable city."

Among the laundry list of proposed improvements to Penn Station announced yesterday are:

  • a single level, double-height train hall which would double passenger circulation space from approximately 123,000 square feet to approximately 250,000 square feet;
  • a 450-foot long sunlit train hall that would equal the combined size of Moynihan and Grand Central Station's halls;
  • 18 new escalators or stairs and 11 more elevators to platforms; and

Proposed public realm improvements would include:

  • eight acres of public space - including a 30,000-square-foot plaza;
  • underground loading docks for Madison Square Garden;
  • new underground corridors to the Sixth Avenue IND line, creating easier access to Penn Station from 34th Street Herald Square Station;
  • eight new entrances to Penn Station;
  • wider sidewalks - including recommended shared streets on 31st, 32nd, and 33rd Streets; and
  • new protected bike lanes.

Hochul's plan also pares back the amount of development planned for the blocks surrounding Penn Station, cutting 1.4 million square feet of cumulative floor area while also shaving the maximum heights of new buildings.

The plan would permit up to 1,800 residential units, at least 540 of which would be permanently affordable. That total would include at least one fully residential building with up to 162 affordable units, offsetting the number of homes that would be displaced by a southern expansion of Penn Station.

New high-rise building surrounding Penn Station Empire State Development Corporation

The proposed plan would take five years to implement, at a total price tag of up to $7 billion.

The development surrounding Penn Station, dubbed the Empire Station Complex, had called for the construction of up to 10 skyscrapers containing more than 20 million square feet of development under an earlier iteration of the project championed by ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Penn Station revamp, like plans for the LaGuardia Airtrain, has been the target of intense criticism - particularly following Cuomo's resignation in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.