WASHINGTON HEIGHTS—The long-delayed renovation of the George Washington Bridge bus terminal will finally begin early next year, Port Authority representatives said.
The renovation of the 47-year-old terminal, budgeted at more than $180 million, will begin in the first quarter of 2013, almost a year after its last announced start date and four years after plans for the project were first announced.
Port Authority representative Michael Lavery announced the update at the Community Board 12 monthly meeting on Dec. 18, saying that construction was planned for the end of 2012 but was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy.
Authority spokesperson Chris Valens confirmed the start date to DNAinfo.com New York, adding that the project is expected to be completed by 2015.
When completed, the renovated bus terminal will have 120,000 square-feet of retail space. Marshalls, Blink Gym, Fine Fare and Gateway News have all signed on as retailers in the terminal.
The project has come under fire from Community Board 12 members, who say that the Port Authority has scaled back on its promises to the community in exchange for permission to carry out the renovations. Board Chairman Pamela Palanque-North noted that several requests made by the board, regarding traffic congestion, security of the construction site and the hiring of local workers, have gone unanswered for more than a year.
In addition, plans for a a community-accessible meeting space have sparked controversy. Palanque-North noted that in 2008 the community board and the Port Authority were in discussions for a multipurpose community space that local groups would be able to use for meetings. Additionally, the two sides discussed creating space for an art gallery.
Those plans fell apart after the economic downturn, however, and the Port Authority's most recent proposal includes only 250 square-feet of community-accessible space.
"The community is not engaged in any substantial way with the developers and the Port Authority," said Palanque-North.