<< Back

Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Moynihan Station Civic and Land Use Improvement Project, Draft Amended General Project Plan, Phase I

WHEREAS, In the1990's the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed creating a new Pennsylvania Station in the James A. Farley Post Office Building on 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets ("Farley") in an effort to improve our city and regional transportation capacity and recreate the proud grandeur of the original Pennsylvania Station that was torn down in 1964; and

WHEREAS, The Empire State Development Corporation ("ESDC") created the Moynihan Station Development Corporation ("MSDC") to plan, design and finance this new station and since 2007 has owned the Farley Complex; and

WHEREAS, Efforts have been made since the 1990's to get this project underway, including a 2006 Environmental Assessment ("EA") by the United States Postal Service and Federal Railroad Administration and a Final Environmental Impact Statement ("FEIS") prepared by the ESDC for a project that would include a train station plus hotel, retail, and commercial development; and

WHEREAS, In 2007 a proposal was made for extensive changes to Farley and the surrounding area, including the relocation of Madison Square Garden to the west end of Farley, substantial retail development within Farley, the construction of two office towers using existing air rights and a new Pennsylvania Station Subdistrict allocating development rights throughout the adjacent area; this proposal was abandoned when the owners of Madison Square Garden elected not to move and private funding for other portions of the proposal was not available; and

WHEREAS, In November 2007 Community Board Five passed a resolution that detailed its concerns and reservations for this previous proposal; and

WHEREAS, Despite the current fiscal and economic climate, new plans are underway to redevelop the Farley Complex into a transportation hub with upgraded train infrastructure, a new train hall, and extensive commercial development that will finance the cost of a new Moynihan Station; and

WHEREAS, These plans have been divided into two phases; Phase I will cost $267 million, fully financed with Federal, State, NY/NJ Port Authority and MTA funding, taking place mostly within the train shed; this Phase I will focus on mobility and infrastructure improvements to help turn the Farley Complex into a functioning train station and will immediately improve the already overcrowded conditions at Pennsylvania Station, providing benefits whether or not Phase II is ever undertaken; this work will include doubling the width and length of the West End Concourse, adding 19 new vertical access points to connect the train platforms to the West End Concourse, the subway and the street, and adding emergency platform ventilation for the train shed area west of 8th Avenue; and

WHEREAS, Phase I work will also convert grade-level windows located at the building's 8th Avenue corners at 31st and 33rd Streets into pedestrian access doors, the only building exterior work to be done in Phase I; in doing this work, the MSDC is working with the New York State Historic Preservation Office ("SHPO") and although it is not mandated to do so, has consulted with New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission and has made a commitment to strive to have minimal impact on the building's façade; and

WHEREAS, While it is still preliminary, Phase II is anticipated to include a glass-roofed train hall, concourses to facilitate commuter, Amtrak and other visitor traffic, create 100,000 square feet of space for use by Amtrak, 200,000 square feet of public space, protect the façade and monumental steps of the landmarked McKim, Mead & White Farley Building, and make other improvements; and

WHEREAS, The Post Office will retain its retail operations in the historic lobby at the head of the monumental steps on 8th Avenue; and

WHEREAS, Phase I, which includes the commitment of Amtrak to be Moynihan Station's prime tenant, will take five years to complete because most work must be done at night and on weekends so to not disrupt train operations, and

WHEREAS, While Phase II is not yet funded, it is expected that development opportunities at the Farley Building will improve as the region's economy recovers, plus proceeds from the sale of development rights will make it possible to begin Phase II before Phase I is completed; and 

WHEREAS, Community Board Five notes that Phase I does not include the sale of any air rights for new development except that MSDC may do so to meet any financial shortfalls in its funding, and that Phase II will likely include extensive sale of air rights, and requests (a) that any sale of air rights undertaken as part of Phase I include prior notification of Community Board Five, and (b) any sale of air rights undertaken as part of Phase II and any new development associated with it involve the voluntary participation of MSDC and ESDC in New York City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure ("ULURP") (even though ESDC's and MSDC's government authority does not require them to do so ) to ensure complete community input to this milestone project.  But should they choose not to participate in ULURP, the Board asks that the ESDC and MSDC use other mechanisms to continue to give the community access and input to what will be a multi-year development effort; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five asks the MSDC make every possible effort to mitigate the impact of Phase I and Phase II's construction on the neighborhood's already intensely stressed vehicular and pedestrian traffic; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five requests that as Phase I is implemented and Phase II is planned, that efforts be made to have ADA-compliant access at every entrance to Moynihan Station as well as transfer points between the Station and other transit; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five asks that if any changes are planned for the façade of the Farley Building or should any other landmark issues arise either in Phase I or Phase II that the MSDC return and review these changes with Community Board Five prior to finalizing them; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recommends that New Jersey Transit, which at one point was to be the main tenant at Moynihan Station, and whose passengers will receive increased ease of use and numerous other benefits and amenities, and moreover will be adding significant pedestrian and transit traffic to the Station and the area overall after the completion of its ARC (Access to the Region's Core) Project, be required to contribute funds to this regional transit project as a condition for having access, and in an amount that is commensurate with its likely benefits; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five supports the current proposal for Moynihan Station as a way to achieve what Senator Patrick Moynihan envisioned -- a world class train station and transportation center for the 21st Century that also preserves New York's past through astute and protected use of a treasured landmarked and iconic building; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports the Amended General Project Plan for Phase I of Moynihan Station Civic and Land Use Improvement Project.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 33 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining, 1 not entitled to vote.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter