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MAS Urges Alternative Plan for Moynihan East Retail

MoynihanThe Moynihan Station project proposes 1.1-million-square-feet of retail development for Moynihan East, the new train station that will rise on the current site of Madison Square Garden. Retail development has contributed to the revitalization of Grand Central Terminal (right), Union Station in Washington, South Station in Boston, and other great train stations throughout the world. Everyone agrees that retail can add liveliness to a station, but is 1.1-million-square-feet too much? The fact is 1.1 million is a larger square footage than Madison Square Garden itself, which smothers the current Penn Station. We think it’s reasonable to ask whether an even bigger development will provide enough physical space for an iconic, day-lit, and spacious station to grow. In order to ensure adequate space and to limit major train disruptions during construction, the MAS has recommended allowing the transfer of more development rights to the Moynihan Station subdistrict as an alternative (see p. 10). We’d rather see some of the development sprinkled throughout the district than concentrated on Moynihan East. We’ll be posting several items about retail in train stations throughout the week. How much and what type of retail would you like to see? Comments are welcome.