Completed in 1910, the original Penn Station was intended to symbolize New York’s status as the most vital city in a nation that was becoming a political and economic superpower. Traveling via the station did not make you feel comfortable, it made you feel important. Yale architectural historian Vincent Scully once wrote, “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat,” referring to the new Penn Station. However, the neighborhood surrounding has some big changes down the road.
Vornado Realty Trust has set their eyes on the area surrounding Penn Station, with money investments towards retail space, public plazas and infrastructure on the table. According to the Wall Street Journal, the office buildings already in the area lack neighborhood amenities, making them second-rate with lower rents. Vornado, which owns roughly 9 million square feet in the surrounding area, wants to pump investments to increase the value to its properties, including the 57-story tall 1 Penn Plaza. “There is no reason that we cannot achieve very, very substantial rising rents in Penn Plaza – very substantial, enormous – with a little TLC,” said Vornado Chief Executive Steven Roth, according transcripts.
Various proposals have come and gone with little progress though Vornado and Related have kept their status as the designated developers. One idea was to replace old retail on the same block as 1 Penn Plaza and add new retail space in addition to fixing some entrances to Penn Station to ease congestion. The first phase of the project is in the works, involving $300 million in infrastructure work for necessary groundwork for future expansion.
According to the NY Post, Cuomo and the Legislature are appropriating $250 million towards the construction of a new Metro North commuter rail line from southeastern Westchester to Penn Station, which will increase congestion during peak hours. The new line would include four new stops in the Bronx: Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point. Each of these stations would run on the New Haven Line route into Penn Station. Currently, the New Haven Line makes only one stop in the Bronx at Fordham on its way to Grand Central. This is an effort to add connectivity between Connecticut, the Bronx and Manhattan.