Third Tower Added To P.A. Bus Terminal Overhaul, In Bid To Cover $2B Of $10B Tab

A recent agreement hammered out between the Port Authority and elected officials is designed to cover $2 billion of the $10 billion overhaul, which would make the nation’s largest bus terminal even larger. The money would come from a 40-year tax revenue commitment by the city.

| 24 Mar 2024 | 03:04

Three commercial towers are expected to provide 20 percent of the funding for an overhaul of the 73-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal, according to NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NY Governor Kathy Hochul, who announced a deal cementing the arrangement with the Port Authority on March 12.

Officials are planning for the tax revenue from the commercial office towers to cover $2 billion of the overhaul’s $10 billion price tag. The nation’s busiest bus terminal, which also connects to a wide number of subway lines, has aged poorly since it opened in 1950. The money would come from a 40-year tax revenue commitment made by the city. Two of these towers will be attached to the revamped bus terminal itself, while a new third one will be on a plot of land between 9th & 10th Ave., which will be co-owned by the Port Authority and private interests.

Of course, the financing agreement will depend on the future health of the commercial office market, which has generally been in the doldrums in Manhattan since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A recent survey from JPMorgan Chase & Co. noted that 78 percent of workers have returned to the office, however. The possibly harsh vagaries of “market demand” was briefly mentioned in the announcement, although officials certainly have no shortage of optimism.

“For decades, New Yorkers have watched the Port Authority Bus Terminal deteriorate from the world-class facility it was in the 1950s to the stain it is on Midtown today,” said Mayor Adams. “The days of watching are over, and the days of acting are here.” He believes that such an investment in its overhaul will make the Bus Terminal the “crown jewel” of the area.

”Today’s announcement of an agreement between the city and the Port Authority for the financing of a new Midtown Bus Terminal enables us to create a world-class gateway that will dramatically improve travel to and from the city while also improving the quality of life for the surrounding communities,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton added.

Opened in 1950, the original and current 1.9 million sq. ft. facility is now viewed as an outdated monstrosity by many locals and elected officials. During the overhaul’s grand announcement presser, City Council Member Erik Bottcher memorably described today’s Midtown Bus Terminal as “the unhappiest place on Earth.” It’s also the largest bus terminal in the United States, and accommodated an average of 98,000 commuters a day in 2023.

A revised plan for a remodel was released in February. Crucially, the Federal Transit Authority also published their draft environmental review of the project, kicking off a 45-day public comment period.

Expected to wrap up in 2032, the overhaul would prominently feature a new 2.1 million sq. ft. terminal. It would also feature a storage and staging building, as well as two new ramps leading to the Lincoln Tunnel. Part of 41st St. between 8th and 9th Avenue would be permanently shut down, so that an entrance to an atrium can be erected.

The draft plans allow for 3.5 acres of public open space. The Port Authority claims that the overhaul will create 6,000 union jobs and not surprisingly, union leadership reacted positively to the new funding deal.

”We applaud Mayor Adams and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for collaborating to fund this crucial development that will provide New Yorkers and our visitors with a fully modernized and world class transportation hub in the heart of Midtown,” said Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera. “Our tradesmen and tradeswomen look forward to streamlining this project and pursuing the paths to the middle class that it creates for them and their communities.”