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Design Competition Will Decide Plans for New PA Bus Terminal, Board Says

By Gwynne Hogan | October 23, 2015 10:33am
 The Port Authority board will host an international design competition for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Port Authority board will host an international design competition for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal.
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Flickr/Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — An international design competition will decide plans for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal to replace the 65-year-old eyesore, board members announced Thursday.

Submissions will be accepted in the next year and the board will pick its favorite in September of 2016, members said.

"This is a giant step forward for one of the most important projects in the country and certainly within our region," said Port Authority Commissioner Kenneth Lipper. "But [it's] only the beginning. We have to work with the community. We have to work with the city, as our partner, and many other agencies to make this happen."

The announcement comes a month after the board was presented with five mockups of possible configurations for a new Midtown terminal — most of which included bulldozing buildings near the terminal's current footprint, alarming community advocates.

"This would require the eviction of many affordable housing tenants, a church, a food pantry, a nursery school, a farm, two affordable food supermarkets and another of other retail stores essential to the character of our neighborhood," community activist Christine Berthet wrote in statement to the board. "Robert Moses' technique of razing our neighborhood is not acceptable any longer."

On Thursday, the board made it clear that nothing about the earlier five proposals was set in stone.

"No specific decision on location, size of the building, design of the building, capability of the building, retail of the building, financing, etc., is made today," said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. "Those decisions will be made in the months to come."

Port Authority Bus Terminal, once called Hell's Hell by comedian John Oliver, saw 66 million commuters passed through in 2014. Port Authority Chairman John Degnan even admitted his "chagrin" at its condition on a recent visit.