WSP USA plays lead role in delivering two iconic projects that expand transit capacity and improve customer experience.
NEW YORK — Moynihan Train Hall has arrived in Midtown Manhattan as a world-class facility that expands New York Penn Station, the busiest transportation hub in the Western Hemisphere, into the landmark James A. Farley Post Office building.
A block away, the East End Gateway has also opened, providing a visually stunning and expanded new entrance to the Penn Station Long Island Railroad Concourse on 33rd Street and 7th Avenue.
The Moynihan Train Hall, which opened on Jan. 1, increases Penn Station’s concourse space by more than 50 percent for the roughly 700,000 passengers who use Penn Station daily. The 255,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility includes 120,000 square feet of retail space. The facility is named for the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who in the early 1990s advocated for the development and proposed an adaptive reuse concept to revive the historic post office building.
Since 1991, WSP USA, one of the nation’s largest engineering and professional services firms, has worked with Empire State Development (ESD), Amtrak, the United States Postal Service, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, developers Vornado Realty Trust and The Related Companies and other stakeholders to help guide the project to successful completion. Under WSP USA’s project management, this innovative public-private partnership completed the project on time and on budget, despite challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has been an honor for WSP to serve ESD as program manager for iconic Moynihan Train Hall project,” said Garry Nunes, senior vice president and Northeast Region director of program and construction management at WSP USA. “This magnificent new train hall has been a dream envisioned for more than 25 years. But it took the leadership and tenacity of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to make it a reality. Moynihan Train Hall is ready to greet rail travelers to New York City in the way the greatest city on the planet should.”
The $1.6 billion transformation of the 109-year-old Farley Post Office building, designed by McKim, Mead & White – the architects that also designed the original Penn Station – delivered a modern transit center with high-quality services and finishes. The unrivaled design includes state-of-the-art security and a contemporary, digital passenger experience. The facility features marble floors, glass- and metal-paneled walls, new vertical transportation, interior and exterior lighting, a new lounge and passenger hospitality waiting areas, public information displays and beautiful, large-scale site-specific artwork that reflects the past, present and future of the train hall.
“A train hall like this has not been built in the United States for 100 years, and there was no familiar road map for how to complete the project,” said Shaun Pratt, project director for WSP. “The project team had to adapt and overcome challenges to realize the project. A shared vision and the successful collaboration of all stakeholders on the team made this project a success. Moynihan Train Hall will become a new benchmark for rail travel, not just in the U.S. but throughout the world.”
The train hall blends classic and contemporary design and features a one-acre sky-lit atrium, a signature clock, cutting-edge technology, clear wayfinding, full accessibility and public art. It also significantly improves the convenience, health and daily experience for passengers, neighbors and visitors. The project is located across from Madison Square Garden and Penn One Plaza, and is near the Hudson Yard development, which is transforming the city’s old rail yards into a new vibrant office and residential area and for which WSP provided a host of services, including preparation of the original Environmental Impact Statement and leadership of the conceptual, preliminary and final design for the No. 7 subway line extension and MEP and structural engineering for 55 Hudson Yards and 3 Hudson Boulevard, and structural engineering for 15 Hudson Yards.
A separate development underway in the remaining areas of the James A. Farley Post Office will provide 600,000 square feet of office space for Facebook. It is scheduled for completion later this year.
“The completion of this gorgeous new train hall would be a special accomplishment at any time, but it’s an extraordinary accomplishment today because we’re at a place where no one ever envisioned being,” said Gov. Cuomo. “Senator Moynihan was a man of true vision. He saw the potential in an underutilized post office and knew that if done correctly, this facility could not only give New York the transit hub it has long deserved, but serve as a monument to the public itself.”
Moynihan Train Hall is currently pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainable design and construction. WSP is the project’s LEED consultant. Skanska served as the design-build constructor.
“Completion of this complex project required extraordinary efforts from a wide range of professionals. The talented, multi-disciplinary team from WSP performed a critical role in support of ESD’s efforts to deliver a world-class transportation hub.” said Douglas Carr, executive director for Moynihan Station Development Corporation.
On New Year’s Eve, the East End Gateway celebrated its opening. The additions of three escalators and a staircase at the new entrance at 7th Avenue and 33rd Street doubles the capacity for ingress and egress between the street level and Penn Station’s LIRR Concourse. The new escalators and staircase also improve access to both the LIRR and New York City Transit’s 1/2/3 and A/C/E subway lines.
WSP managed the project for MTA Construction and Development, seeing it through to competition on time and on budget. The team overcame multiple challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, including safety concerns and delays in materials shipped from other countries. The team used an innovative design-build approach to speed construction, taking advantage of reduced passenger flow due to the pandemic.
Additional key stakeholders included LIRR, Vornado Realty Trust, Amtrak, Madison Square Garden and the City of New York.
“It has been an honor to work with so many incredible project partners to deliver this project, which will have immediate positive impact on the many New Yorkers and travelers who use Penn Station every day,” said Jeff Ryscavage, project director for WSP USA. “I am very proud that we were able to deliver this project with little impact to daily use during the life of the project, including zero train delays caused by construction.”
About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 10,000 employees in 170 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com