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Teams Vie to Design New Midtown Train Station in New York

Courtesy Empire State Development Corporation

After years of false starts, the conversion of New York’s Central Post Office into a “flagship” train station in Midtown appears to be moving closer to reality, with teams vying to develop the space.

On February 24 the Empire State Development Corporation announced it was choosing between proposals for the new “Moynihan Station” (named for the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who pushed for the station), which will take shape out the Farley Post Office, just west of Penn Station. Submitted designs came from Foster and Partners, Cesar Pelli Associates, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and Kohn Pedersen Fox. Development teams include Boston Properties, Tishman Speyer Properties with Jones Lang LaSalle, and The Related Companies with Vornado Realty trust.

The released proposals all include plans to preserve much of the existing beaux-arts post office, and plan for large interior spaces mixing retail and public circulation. All incorporate David Childs, FAIA’s “potato chip,” structure, a curved glass and steel canopy that arches over a large public space. Because of competition rules, exterior designs could not be identified with specific teams, but the plans include several glass tower proposals. One is a smooth structure with an extruding central envelope, one includes regimented lattice work, one appears covered with steel beams, and one is a fairly straightforward office building.

The $600 million project will center around a 400,000 square-foot transportation facility, which could hold commuters for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) or New Jersey Transity. Other elements include 750,000 square-feet of private development, mostly in the aforementioned skyscrapers, and 250,00 square-feet of space for the U.S. Post Office.

Winners are scheduled to be chosen early this summer, and development is expected to begin shortly afterward, with completion in 2010.

Sam Lubell