New York will renovate Penn Station during shelter-in-place

May 26, 2020

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced May 26 that the city would expedite construction on the new Empire Station at Pennsylvania Station while the city remains on coronavirus lockdown.

“The time to fix the hole in the roof is when the sun is shining,” Cuomo said during a May 26 press conference. “Now is the time to build, while the ridership is low and we need the jobs.”

According to a slide presented during the conference, the Empire Station Complex Project has created 14,500 total jobs to date.

Related: TPG’s guide to Penn Station in New York City

Cuomo famously called Penn Station “a national laughingstock” back in 2016, saying that the outdated depot is “decrepit, and an affront to riders to use it.”

The Empire Project is the latest in a long line of reconstruction plans that have been proposed over the past 30 years by multiple leaders, all of which have been stymied or stalled for various reasons.

Related: Cuomo’s January 2020 summary of the Empire Station Complex

The current station was built in 1910 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and has already been demolished and rebuilt once before, which relocated the station underground in 1969. Penn is the busiest train station in the Western Hemisphere, and currently serves as the main intercity railroad station in New York City.

Cuomo will visit the White House Wednesday, May 27, to discuss the building plans and project infrastructure which will link Penn Station, the new Moynihan Train Hall and a brand-new terminal which will be built one block south of the current Penn Station site.

Earlier this month, we learned Penn Station was being closed overnight for deep cleanings during the coronavirus outbreak.

TPG has reached out to Amtrak regarding possible plans for the new Empire Station, and will report back with any news updates. The railroad company is struggling from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, however, and has asked Congress for a $1.5 billion bailout, reporting a 95 percent drop in ridership since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Washington Post.

Furthermore, Amtrak announced Tuesday in an internal memo that the company is preparing to cut 20% of its 18,000-plus workforce by October 2020, the beginning of its 2021 fiscal year, according to the Wall Street Journal

During the same press conference, Cuomo also announced that the city would expedite the construction of a new LaGuardia Airport as well, a project that has created 8,000 jobs thus far.

Featured photo by Getty Images. 

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