Hochul Says She Has New Plan For Penn Station Rebuild

While she has not revealed any specifics yet, some local leaders think it could be the first step toward moving Madison Square Garden. The original plan unveilved by former Governor Cuomo and embraced by Governor Hochul kept Madison Square Garden on top of the station, much to the dismay of most urban planners and commuter advocates.

| 13 Mar 2023 | 04:10

Governor Kathy Hochul has stated she has a new plan for rebuilding Penn Station, after the original plan with Vornado Realty Trust went up in smoke.

“We have an alternative plan,” she told WNYC on March 9th but so far nobody knows exactly what that plan is.

The original plan had hinged upon the construction of 10 office and residential buildings in the area around the station. Vornado Realty and other landlords involved with this project would have produced tax revenue to help finance the project.

However, the declining market for office space forced Vornado to announce last month that it was putting a halt to any new office towers. The developer said it would complete the first two towers that were already under construction while putting the breaks on the rest.

“I will shift gears and find other ways to make this happen and it’s not contingent on what Vornado was planning for the entire neighborhood. It does not have to be that way,” Hochul told WYNC.

“We can be open-minded and consider other options at this time and that’s what I’m looking at.”

That has some polticals hoping that this may be the opening they were looking for to finally draw up a plan that would move Madison Square Garden and rebuild Penn Station above ground. The rail hub, through which an estimated 400,000 people pass each is said to be the businest in the country, and also the one that has long been derided for being one of the worst stations in the country.

“The Governor is absolutely correct, the old Cuomo real estate plan is dead,” said Assemblymember Tony Simone.

“I look forward to working with Governor Hochul, colleagues in the legislature, and the local community to build a plan that delivers on our local and regional transportation needs,” he said.

The owners of Madison Square Garden asked the city last month to allow the stadium to remain atop Penn Station. The revamp would cost between $7 and $10 billion if MSG does remain in place, as reported by Crain’s New York.

While Madison Square Garden is pushing to renew a special permit that allows it to stay in its current location indefinitely, one of its executive vice presidents, Joel Fisher, at the end of a contentious marathon session of the land use subcommitte of commnity board six. Fisher acknowledged that MSG might be willing to listen to an idea to move one block to the east, but made it clear someone else would have to pay for the move and bring a plan to them.

A move one block East would put MSG on the footprint of the Hotel Pennsylvania and other nearby buildings that Vornado had already emptied out with plans to demolish to make way for some of its towers.

Now with those plans on hold, there was growing interest in the possiblity of moving MSG there.

MSG has not given any more public comment and skipped the next community board subcommittee hearing.