After almost two decades of false starts, the plan to transform the landmark James Farley Post Office across from Penn Station into a new train terminal is finally gaining steam.
A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled Monday and will include the unveiling of new renderings for the Farley annex, which will allow Amtrak to relocate its subterranean digs in Penn Station to the mostly vacant post office. The proposed terminal, known as Moynihan Station, is named after the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who helped conceive the project in the early 1990s.
Dignitaries expected to attend include Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. David Paterson, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
A federal transportation grant and stimulus funding announced earlier this year is helping to bankroll the $267-million first phase of the project. Work could begin before the end of the year and be done by 2015, according to the Friends of Moynihan Station, an alliance of civic and business organizations that are supporting the project.
Work will reportedly include building new street-level entrances to the post office and widening Penn Station’s West End Concourse and the 33rd Street Connector to ease pedestrian traffic flow.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will fund the second phase, which officials have estimated to cost about $1.5 billion and will include the main job of outfitting the post office into a train hall.
The project had been tied up over the years by ballooning funding costs and morphing designs, which once included moving Madison Square Garden.