The MTA Board of Directors voted on Wednesday to approve the hiring of WSP, FXCollaborative and British firm John McAslan and Partners for the job with a base contract worth $58 million.
The latter company is behind the repair of King’s Cross station in London, which will be a promising model for what New York is trying to do with the dark and cavernous Penn station, MTA Chairman and CEO Jano Lieber said at the agency’s headquarters on Sept. Board of Directors Meeting.
“This is perhaps the most significant previous project to renovate and rebuild the existing Penn Building and we are delighted that this teamwork is a part of this story,” said Lieber.
The companies will be tasked with coming up with a design to renovate the notoriously claustrophobic Manhattan Transit Center into a light-filled and better-connected station based on the Penn Station master plan, according to officials.
The proposal is to demolish part of the upper floor to create a one-story atrium and a medium-sized train hall with a 450-foot skylight.
The MTA’s Construction and Development division will manage the project with Amtrak and NJ Transit, both of which use the busy terminal.
The contract is worth $57.9 million over 12 months to come up with a preliminary design, but the agency may cost companies additional services as part of the renovation, which could raise costs by tens of millions of dollars and extend the schedule. For more than eight years.
Options at an additional cost range from $3.7 million to $152.7 million, according to approved contract.
These add-ons include more design work for new Penn connections to nearby subway stations along 34th Street, such as the Herald Square complex on 6th Avenue and Broadway, as well as the Seventh and Eighth Avenue lines, according to MTA C&D President Jimmy Torres. – The pulse.
If the additional tasks exceed the $100 million currently included in the MTA’s five-year capital plan for the business, agency officials will have to return to the voting board for approval.
Hochul launched bids for the design contract in June.
The governor has pushed through the massive and controversial Penn Station project launched under her predecessor Andrew Cuomo, which will use payments from surrounding property developers to partially pay for the scheme along with a potential future expansion of the station to the south with new tracks.
The current renovation does not include any additional train capacity.
The contract moves the Penn plant project forward so construction can begin in 2024.
MTA leaders want to work on Penn upgrades when there’s less train traffic there, between the time Grand Central Madison opens to Long Island Rail Road riders at the end of this year, and when the agency brings Metro-North Railroad passengers to Penn Station via four new stations In the Bronx in 2027.
“We have to take advantage of this window of opportunity when the number of passengers in Pennsylvania is significantly reduced,” Lieber said. “We want to be ready when this new customer pool is – who are used to Grand Central by the way, a lot of these people are familiar with Grand Central, so you know how they would feel if they got to the current Penn.”
It’s also up to the designers to figure out what kind of seating the new Penn station should have, Lieber said.
Moynihan Train Hall, the first part of the new Penn Station complex that opened to Amtrak riders at the start of 2021, is running out of seats, with passengers sitting on decks while waiting for their trains.
But Lieber did not say if he thought the seats belonged in a modern train hall.
“This is just a question,” he told reporters at a news conference after the board meeting. “We’re in a different era and the main issue is circulation and what’s good for the passengers and the people who use the station.”