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At his State of the State address today, Governor Andrew Cuomo heralded a $51bn reimagining of Manhattan Midtown West that will “spread East to Broadway and West to the Hudson.”
Cuomo’s plan, which would create almost 200,000 jobs, includes the redevelopment of the Javits Center, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, and extensions of the High Line to the new Moynihan Train Hall and Pier 76 — although his speech made no mention of Hudson Yards and the second stage of its development over the western rail yards.
The Governor said last week that he had re-written his State of the State address when the Democrats gained control of the Senate after Georgia’s elections. The plan today is an ambitious multi-billion dollar project taking in 140 acres of Manhattan real estate and will include transit hubs and “new residential commercial and public works projects that will combine to form a new vibrant, exciting district,” he said. Cuomo’s first step is to deal with New York’s decaying transit hubs and push again for the delayed Gateway Project to deliver new train tunnels between Manhattan and New Jersey.
“We’ll begin with re-imagining and rebuilding a true blight — New York City’s Penn Station — which is aging, deteriorated and overcrowded,” he continued. “By acquiring the square block to the South of Penn station, we can build another terminal. Penn South will add at least eight additional underground tracks. This new complex also anticipates two new cross-river train tunnels. Washington has the delayed these tunnels, called the Gateway Project, for years and they must finally move forward. The Moynihan Hall, Penn South and the renovated Penn Station will double our capacity and make travel easier, safer, more reliable and enjoyable. The new project will be called the Empire Station Complex and will be the most ambitious mass transit development in the United States of America.”
The Governor said the new development at the Javits Center, to be delivered later this year, would increase capacity by 50%. “This expansion will make the Javits Convention Center a national leader in attracting conferences and exhibitions, and it’s going to be done this year,” he added.
He didn’t forget “another New York city eyesore, the Port Authority Bus Complex,” promising to “completely redevelop the terminal, adding space for commercial development dramatically improving the commuting experience, removing bus traffic and pollution from the surrounding community.”
The Governor also focused on the development of Pier 76 after NYPD moves their tow pound at the end of this month. “Pier 76 is probably the most under-utilized piece of real estate in New York City. After decades of apathy, the pier will become a magnificent public space that will delight visitors and tourists and welcome all of Manhattan,” he said.
All of this will be threaded together by extensions of the High Line to “make this a walkable, enjoyable part of Manhattan,” he said. Phase one will connect the High Line to the new Moynihan Train Hall by extending “eastward from 10th Avenue and 30th street through the Brookfield properties, creating a 1,200 foot path.” The state is studying a proposed phase two, in which the High Line will push northward and connect Pier 76 with a pedestrian bridge across the West Side Highway.
Part of the $51bn funding will come from making 14 building sites available that will yield 20 million square feet of retail, commercial and residential development. Cuomo emphasized that the “priority will be to use these sites for affordable housing, creating up to 1,400 much-needed units.
“In total, these West Side projects represent $51 billion in investment and 196,000 jobs. Even more. They will show New Yorkers and the world that a new New York city is in reach and that the future is bright,” he added.
Lowell Kern, the Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4 told us: “The Community Board is very excited by the Governor’s focus on our neighborhood. We have been actively involved in much of the new development the Governor talked about today, including the Empire Station project and the redesign of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Taken together, these developments will make the West Side the crown jewel of Manhattan.”