In 2001, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill was picked to design Moynihan Station, which is the brainchild of the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the project when he was still alive. A variety of reasons lead to the project design briefly changing hands, but in 2007, SOM was again officially awarded the project (you can find a detailed timeline of Moynihan Station’s planning history here), and their plans have more or less stayed the same.
SOM will maintain the facade of the Farley Post Office, which sits behind Penn Station on Eighth Avenue between 33rd and 31st Streets. The interior will be restored to house new train and intermodal halls, and a sweeping glass ceiling will create a light-filled central hall. Phase One, which began in October, consists of building major transportation infrastructure the station will need. This includes extending the west end concourse below the post office building to allow for access to more tracks, improving ventilation, improving and updating signal work, upgrading the connector between the post office and the current Penn Station, and creating two new entry points on either side of the post office’s facade. SOM says that these changes “increase capacity for rail services, enhance subway connections, reduce congestion, and improve access for all riders, including those with disabilities.” The Friends of Moynihan Station say that Phase One should be complete by 2015, and at that point, Amtrak would move all Penn Station operations to the new location.