USA: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed on September 27 that contracts had been let for the expansion of Penn Station in New York, including redevelopment of the adjacent James Farley Post Office building under the Moynihan Station project.

The award of a $1·6bn contract to a consortium of Related Companies, Vornado Realty and Skanska covers the redevelopment of the Farley building as a passenger concourse, retail and office development with 23 690 m2 of waiting area. But Cuomo described this as just the first stage in a much wider phased redevelopment of the whole Penn-Moynihan complex, covering the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak concourses of the existing Penn Station and the Subway station closest to the LIRR platforms.

Under a fixed-price design-build contract, the Related-Vornado-Skanska consortium is expected to complete the Farley Post Office conversion by December 2020. Under the agreement, the consortium has agreed to pay the state around $600m in recognition of the development opportunities offered by the prime Manhattan location. The remainder of the work is to be supported by $570m in funding from Empire State Development and $425m from a combination of Amtrak, New York MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the federal government.

Cuomo told guests at the Association for a Better New York that Amtrak had been evaluating expanding its facilities into the former post office for more than 20 years, but progress had repeatedly stalled. Under the current contract, the Moynihan Station would accommodate both inter-city and LIRR commuter rail passengers.

Providing an increase in floor space of more than 50%, the remodelled building will feature shops and restaurants under a large skylight. It will be designed to accommodate passenger growth from the planned expansion of Northeast Corridor services under the Gateway project and the relocation of some MTA Metro-North commuter trains to Penn Station. A total of 17 platform faces will be accessible from the Moynihan concourse.

Meanwhile, Cuomo also outlined plans for the refurbishment of the existing LIRR concourse in Penn Station, including the proposed installation of LED lighting to create an ‘artificial sky’ and widening of the main access corridor for LIRR passengers under Seventh and Eighth Avenues. A contract for this work package is expected to be awarded by the end of the year within a budget of $70m. A further $50m has been allocated to refurbishment of the Subway stations serving the A, C and E and 1, 2 and 3 lines at Penn/34th Street; this work is expected to be completed by 2018.

Expressions of interest have also been requested for the potential redevelopment of the current Amtrak facilities at Penn, to be undertaken once the operator has moved into the Farley building.

‘The Moynihan Train Hall will be a world-class 21st century transportation hub’, Cuomo said. ‘The current Penn Station is overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic. The Moynihan Train Hall will have state-of-the-art security features, a modern, digital passenger experience, and a host of dining and retail options. This is not a plan — this is what’s going to happen. People are going to walk through this station and recognize that this is New York.’