Construction has started on the $1.6 billion conversion of New York City's James A. Farley Post Office Building into Moynihan Train Hall, according to Curbed New York.
The new 255,000-square-foot hall will feature nine train platforms, 17 tracks and a 92-foot-tall skylight, as well as 700,000 square feet of retail, dining and other commercial space.
The completed Moynihan Train Hall will connect commuters underground to the nearby Pennsylvania Station by way of the new West End Concourse, which opened earlier this summer.
The Moynihan Train Hall conversion and connection to Penn Station is one of the projects featured in Amtrak's $24 billion Gateway Program, a rail-related capital initiative that is expected to expand capacity along the Northeast Corridor. The construction of the $13 billion Hudson River tunnel between New York and New Jersey and the replacement of the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey — starting with the $1.5 billion Portal North span — are also part of the Gateway plan.
In September of last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the joint venture of Related Cos., Vornado Realty Trust and Skanska USA would carry out the Moynihan conversion under a fixed-price, design-build contract. The joint venture put $630 million into the project for operating rights upon completion.
Empire State Development, the development arm of New York state, also secured a $537.1 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the project. The Port Authority, Amtrak, New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and federal grants will pay for the balance.
When complete, the Moynihan facility will process all Amtrak traffic in and out of New York City and will serve as Amtrak's headquarters there. The new train hall will also function as a hub for the MTA's Long Island Rail Road. Penn station tracks already run under the Farley post office building.
The Moynihan conversion is one of only a few projects in New York City being delivered under a design-build model. Cuomo and local and state officials have sought to expand design–build use into the city, but they have been met with resistance from trade unions, particularly those involved in the design process, and state lawmakers.
In June, New York City Department of Transportation officials requested permission from the state legislature to use design–build on eight critical city infrastructure projects, saying it would take less time and money to execute them that way. Lawmakers declined to take action on the measure prior to their summer recess.