HELL’S KITCHEN — A bus terminal on the bottom floor of the Javits Center, one surrounded by a brand-new "Times Square West" district and an underground depot beneath the existing Port Authority were some of the finalists in the authority's widely criticized design competition seeking plans for a new West Side terminal.
The five designs include concepts that ranged in cost from $3.7 billion to $15.3 billion for the bus station, but it’s likely the Port Authority will only take “ideas” from the proposals after contentious run-ins with local politicians over the process, the agency’s chairman said.
Following a Port Authority board meeting Thursday, Chairman John Degnan noted the designs were “concepts only,” a recording of the meeting shows.
“My instinct is that no one of them is going to emerge, after the consultative process goes forward, as the final concept. There may be ideas in each of them,” he said.
“Some of them, you can gauge by yourself by expense or other considerations, are probably not likely to survive,” he added.
The following five designs were released by the Port Authority Thursday:
► Arcadis of New York, Inc. — $4.2 billion estimated cost
Arcadis of New York Inc.’s design locates the site over Dyer Avenue on the West Side, creates an elevated pedestrian plaza over the avenue leading into the new terminal and keeps incoming buses off of local streets. The design “preserves all existing neighboring buildings” and only uses Port Authority-owned land.
► Archilier Architecture Consortium — $7 billion estimated cost
Archilier Architecture’s design “urbanistically knits together historic Hell’s Kitchen and the emerging Hudson Yards district.” The 4 million-square-foot terminal would have a “system of internalized bus ramps” and would be built “almost exclusively” on land owned by the Port Authority, “all but eliminat[ing] the need to acquire private land.” The roof of the facility would become a nearly 10-acre public park.
► Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative — $15.3 billion estimated cost
HTC hopes to build an “underground facility” below the existing Port Authority bus terminal on Eighth Avenue. Buses would travel to and from the Lincoln Tunnel via an underground bus ramp system. “Ancillary buildings will be constructed adjacent to the existing [bus terminal] site to provide ventilation for public spaces… [but] there will be minimal property acquisition for this alternative” compared to concepts at street level, the firm says.
► Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects — $3.7 billion estimated cost
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects envisions a new district called “Times Square West” around a transit center to be built west of Ninth Avenue. The firm’s plan takes commuter buses off the streets, and will “[involve] no condemnation or taking of private property,” as the center will be built on Port Authority-owned land.
► Perkins Eastman — $5.4 billion estimated cost
Perkins Eastman's terminal would be constructed “on the lower level of the existing [Javits Center],” allowing traffic to flow directly into the terminal from the Lincoln Tunnel without using public streets. The plan uses Port Authority-owned property, “eliminating the need for eminent domain” and creating “a flexible as-of-right process.”
Degnan's remarks about the proposals came two days after the Port Authority and elected officials released a joint statement announcing they had agreed to a “new, expanded, comprehensive planning process” that would “include significant stakeholder and public input.”
West Side politicians and Hell’s Kitchen residents previously called on the agency to put an end to the design competition, maintaining it was an “opaque” process that had moved forward without public input.
Many feared the Port Authority could select a plan that would involve destroying existing buildings in Hell’s Kitchen to make way for the new terminal.
Speaking about the designs Thursday, Degnan said the agency’s board “certainly like[d] the components that don’t require any eminent domain or acquisition of private property.”
He also said it was “fine” to call the agreement between the two sides a “restart” of the Port Authority’s process to build a new terminal, as elected officials including Councilman Corey Johnson described it.
“I don’t care what people call it,” Degnan said. “I think we’re all on the same page about what needs to happen here, which is that the Port Authority needs to collaboratively work with the interested parties to come up with a concept that works.”
The agency couldn’t yet provide a timeline for the project moving forward, given its commitment to “significant” outreach with the public and elected officials, Port Authority executive director Pat Foye noted.