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Moynihan Station Project Timeline

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan first articulated his vision for a great new Penn Station in the landmark Farley Post Office building in the early 1990s. For many years the project progressed in starts and fits. In the last two years, however, major progress has been made in achieving the Senator's vision, and in fact, elevating it to an even better station.

Here is a timeline of the project so far:

1993: Amtrak unveils architectural plans for overhauling the Farley Post Office building into a grand new Penn Station, an idea first advanced by then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The central court of the Farley building would be transformed into a new concourse for Amtrak intercity passengers. This plan is possible because the Postal Service has announced that it is moving mail-processing work out of that building.

1993-2004: The project suffers several setbacks, including the Postal Service's reconsideration of its decision to move out of most of Farley, and Amtrak's withdrawal from the project because of continuing financial problems.

2001: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill release a first design (the so-called "potato chip" design) for the new Moynihan Station at the Farley Building.

October 2004: NJ TRANSIT and LIRR announce their interest in occupying the Farley building, replacing Amtrak as the anchor tenant. This would involve extending several platforms from Penn Station westward. Several developers express interest in converting Farley into a gleaming Moynihan Station, named after the senator who was its champion until his death in 2003. Initial plans from two of the developers - Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust - show a new sports arena, most likely a new Madison Square Garden, rising from within the walls of the western portion of the Farley building, near Ninth Avenue, a block west of where the Garden is now.

January 2005: New York City rezones 60 blocks in the far West Side of Manhattan. The rezoning provides for millions of square feet of commercial and residential development west of Eighth Avenue, between 30th and 43rd Streets. The rezoning also provides for 2 MSF of development rights with the Farley Building, and 2.6 MSF of air rights for the existing Penn Station / MSG site plus 2.7 MSF in incentive bonus to build a train station on that site.

July 2005: The Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, as a joint "Venture," win the competition to overhaul Farley into a train station. At this point, the Moynihan Station project involves 300,000 square feet of space for the train station, 850,000 square feet for commercial space and up to one million square feet of air rights to be transferred to adjacent sites. The Post Office will continue to occupy 250,000 square feet in the building. Amtrak will be the main tenant in Moynihan Station. Related and Vornado estimate the project will cost $818 million and agree to pay for $300 million themselves, while city, state and federal governments, as well as the Port Authority, will also contribute.

September 2005: James Carpenter Design Associates, with Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, release a second design for the new Moynihan Station at the Farley Building.

November 2005: NJ TRANSIT signs on to be the main tenant at Moynihan Station. The rail agency is expected to have operational control of the station, paying $2.3 million a year to lease 35,000 square feet of space.

March 2006: The Venture and Cablevision sign a tentative agreement to move Madison Square Garden (MSG) to the Annex of the Farley, at the Ninth Avenue end of the building. This would allow for the demolition and redevelopment of the current Penn Station / MSG site on the east side of Eighth Avenue.

April 2006: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill release a third design for the new Moynihan Station at the Farley Building.

June 2006: The Venture and state officials sign an agreement to convert Farley into Moynihan Station, which does not include an MSG move. Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2006 and be over by 2012. Financing plan is as follows:

Private Developers: $313.76 million
Federal Government: $115.9 million
New York State Government: $85.8 million
City Government: $154 Million
MTA: $35 million
Port Authority: $145 million
Total: $849.46 million

August 2006: The Final Environmental Impact Statement for Moynihan Station, again without an MSG move, is released.

August 2006: The ESDC approves the plan to remake Farley into Moynihan Station, which is now estimated to cost $900 million. The plan calls for new train hubs for NJ TRANSIT and LIRR, a post office and retail outlets. It does not include MSG moving to Farley. The state's Public Authorities Control Board, a three-vote panel that approves major capital contributions by state agencies, must still approve the plan.

Summer 2006: Support builds for expanding the scope of the project to so-called "Plan B."  Plan B, proposed by Vornado and Related, calls for moving Madison Square Garden to the west end of Farley; tearing down the current MSG arena and building a new train station above which would be two to four state-of-the-art office towers containing about 5.5 million square feet of office space. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, then-candidate for Governor Eliot Spitzer, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and others express support for Plan B.

October 2006: Through his control of the Public Authorities Control Board, Silver blocks approval of the $900 million overhaul of Farley, in order to expand the project to include the MSG move and a new train station east of Eighth Avenue.

December 2006: Pat Foye is nominated by newly elected Governor Eliot Spitzer to head ESDC. In his first few months in office, Foye revives discussions of Plan B. The project is now $14 billion total and won't be completed until 2018. 

February 2007: ESDC approves $500,000 to conduct a new environmental impact study of Moynihan Station West (the Farley building with a train hall and MSG) and Moynihan Station East (the new train station and commercial towers).

March 2007: ESDC purchases the Farley Post Office Building from the United States Postal Service for $230 million. Port Authority contributes $140 million and ESDC $35 million; the remainder comes from Related and Vornado.

October 2007: ESDC releases a scoping document to initiate the public review process for the expanded project (East and West). 

Winter 2008: Gov. Spitzer enters negotiations with owners of Vornado, Related and Madison Square Garden. Just two weeks later, Gov. Spitzer resigns.

March 2008: State releases the first rendering of Moynihan East and West.

April 2008: Cablevision announces that Madison Square Garden will not move to Farley, it will renovate in place. 

September 2008: Gov. David Paterson announces his commitment to Moynihan Station even without a Madison Square Garden move.

Winter 2009: Extensive behind-the-scenes discussions take place between Gov. Paterson's office, Mayor Bloomberg's office, the Empire State Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about how to revive the Moynihan Station project -- or at least the Farley Post Office component of it -- in this difficult fiscal environment.

Late summer 2009: Certain elements of the project -- the ones that can be implemented quickly -- are broken off from the larger Moynihan Station project. Phase One can qualify for federal stimulus funding as it is shovel-ready.

September 2009: Amtrak announces its intention to move its operations into a new train hall in Farley.

February 2010: Moynihan Station receives a $83.3 million federal stimulus grant to begin construction of Phase One of the project. 

July 2010: The Public Authorities Control Board approves Phase One of the Moynihan Station project, clearing the way for construction to begin.

October 2010: All grant agreements are finalized: Phase One is fully funded and approved. Ground is broken. The project will be completed in 2016, as construction can only take place at night and on the weekends.