New York City’s widely despised Port Authority bus terminal will soon get a $10 billion replacement. The Port Authority unveiled five finalist designs Thursday for a reimagined terminal as part of its international design and deliverability contest.
The Port Authority began exploring the idea of replacing the 65-year-old bus terminal last year. It’s a notoriously overcrowded eyesore, and was only expected to get worse. The agency expects to see 337,000 daily commuters pass through the terminal by 2040, an increase of nearly 69 percent from 2011.
The design competition hit a speed bump in August when politicians and community members critiqued the agency for not sufficiently consulting local communities on the project. But the Port Authority said the project is moving forward, and one of the five finalist designs will serve as a starting point for the redesigned transit hub. “My instinct is that no one is going to emerge … as the final concept,” Port Authority Chairman John Degnan told AM New York. “These are concepts only.”
“There may be ideas in each of them — we certainly like the components that don’t require eminent domain or acquisition of private property,” Degnan says. “Some of them, you can gauge here yourself, by expense or other consideration, are probably not going to survive.”
The five designs vary widely in price and design, but all keep the terminal within its current Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Here are the designs, listed from least to most expensive.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects — $3.7 billion estimated cost
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects proposed an entirely new district called Time Square West that they say would bring a pedestrian focus back to the midtown neighborhood.
Arcadis of New York, Inc. — $4.2 billion estimated cost
Dutch firm Arcadis’ proposal includes a new pedestrian plaza over Dyer Avenue to allow easy pedestrian access to the terminal. It is built entirely on land already owned by the Port Authority.
Perkins Eastman — $5.4 billion estimated cost
The proposal from New York firm Perkins Eastman relocates buses underground and puts the entire bus terminal into the first floor of the Javits Center. A tunnel would connect buses to the Lincoln Tunnel.
Archilier Architecture Consortium — $7 billion estimated cost
Archilier Architecture’s design calls for a 4 million-square-foot terminal that would connect Hudson Yards with Hell’s Kitchen and create nearly 10 acres of public space with a rooftop park. It also calls for purchasing a number of buildings to make space for the massive structure.
Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative — $15.3 billion estimated cost
HTC’s proposal — by far the most expensive — takes the entire terminal and the buses off city roads, out of sight and underground, directly underneath the current building. While the design allows for more above-ground public spaces, it would require the Port Authority to purchase some property.
Kelsey E. Thomas is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia but forever dreaming of her PNW roots. She writes about urban policy, sustainability and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) and helps brands employ strategic storytelling to grow their reputation and reach. She is a former associate editor at Next City.