Foster + Partners and Epstein to Design Port Authority’s Midtown Bus Terminal




The new Port Authority Bus Terminal rendering courtesy of The Port Authority NY NJ

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced the selection of an architectural joint-venture to assist in developing the agency’s vision for a reimagined, state-of-the-art Midtown Bus Terminal. The new terminal replacement project will have expanded capacity to accommodate commuter bus growth through 2050 and also accommodate intercity buses that now pick up and drop off on the streets surrounding today’s outdated terminal. The proposed project will also provide new off-street capacity for buses waiting their turn to pick up and drop off, as well as capacity for storing buses between the morning and evening rush periods.

This announcement marks a significant milestone as the Port Authority moves toward replacing the aging 72-year-old bus terminal with a new world-class facility. The new terminal will be designed to provide a best-in-class customer experience that serves the region’s 21st century public transportation needs, while enhancing the surrounding community and allowing for the removal of intercity buses from local streets.

The new Port Authority Bus Terminal rendering courtesy of The Port Authority NY NJ

Foster + Partners and the U.S.-based multi-disciplinary design firm A. Epstein and Sons International Inc. will provide architectural design services for the replacement project beginning immediately and throughout the design phase and the environmental review of the proposed project. The Foster + Partners/Epstein team are both leaders in densely populated urban environments, as well as in designing major transportation facilities.

Most notable among Foster + Partners’ community-focused transit projects are their work on the New Slussen masterplan, one of the largest redevelopment and transportation projects in Sweden; the award-winning sustainable design for Bloomberg L.P. headquarters in London; the mixed-use transit and public green space project of Crossrail Place Canary Wharf also in London, and the Jeddah Metro masterplan in Saudi Arabia.

Noteworthy among Epstein’s substantial U.S. infrastructure and civic projects is the firm’s work on the renovation and expansion of the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, which gives the team a deep well of familiarity with the Midtown West Manhattan area. (Don’t miss The Armory Show, this September at Javits Center).

As part of their design effort, the team will review, evaluate, recommend, and provide advisory services on urban design, streetscape, functionalism, community impact, design and spatial strategies, materials, systems, sustainability, and interior design. In addition, it will provide critical support during the ongoing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and ensure that the architectural design contemplated is consistent with the Port Authority’s ambitious goals for the proposed project. The firm will provide their services to the Port Authority as advisory and consulting services.

Courtesy Port Authority NY NJ

“For more than a century, the Port Authority has led the region and the country with its ability to build bigger and better projects that benefit New Yorkers and New Jerseyans alike,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “In addition to substantive new redevelopment and transportation projects such as the rebuilding of our airports and the World Trade Center campus, the proposal to build a new Midtown Bus Terminal continues our agency’s essential role of delivering major transportation facility projects that can transform entire neighborhoods and revitalize the regional economy. Today’s news demonstrates real momentum for this critical project.”

“New Yorkers and visitors, alike, deserve the best when it comes to transportation infrastructure, and today’s announcement brings us one step closer to a world-class Midtown Bus Terminal,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “As we continue to build back from the pandemic, it’s vital that we create state-of-the-art transportation hubs to get commuters to their destinations safely and efficiently. I thank my partners at the Port Authority and in New Jersey for working collaboratively to move this project one step closer to the finish line.”

“The Port Authority’s selection of this exceptional architectural team shows that we are laser-focused on building a truly visionary world-class facility worthy of the region, prioritizing both bus riders and the community surrounding the bus terminal,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We look forward to working closely with the Foster + Partners/Epstein team to reimagine a new commuter and interstate bus terminal complex for the 21st century.”

Project overview courtesy Port Authority NY NJ

“We are delighted to be appointed to the project, continuing to develop and maintain a unified vision for the Midtown Bus Terminal in Manhattan,” said Juan Vieira-Pardo, a partner of Foster + Partners. “Already the world’s busiest bus terminal, the project also has the potential to become the most desirable destination in Midtown. We believe that together with the Port Authority, Epstein, representatives of the surrounding community, stakeholders and passengers, we can help deliver an innovative, state-of-the-art, net zero transportation facility that is fit for the 21st century.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to align our vision with that of the Port Authority to bring the future of transport and mobility to this vital hub for the entire region,” said Paul Sanderson, the director of Epstein’s New York office. “After over a decade working with local partners to reinvent the Javits Center nearby, we cannot wait to work with the commuters and the community surrounding the bus terminal on this historic project with such transformative potential. The greatest city in the world deserves the best facility in the world, and we aim for no less than that.”

“The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance (HYHK) looks forward to continuing our productive and congenial relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as it designs and constructs a much-needed state-of-the-art facility while improving the public realm.  Congratulations to Foster + Partners and A. Epstein and Sons International. HYHK welcomes their participation and guidance as we all move forward, paying close attention to the effects on local businesses and residents,” said The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance.

New Yorkers will remember the artist open call by The Garment District Alliance for a large-scale installation along the side of the Port Authority, on 40th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in 2021

The winner of that ‘call for artists’ was announced, and InsideOut: New York Together began installation on October 3, 2021. This was a 40-foot gallery featuring the diverse individuals that make up New York City, with portraits printed in realtime and featured outside the Port Authority.

Inside/Out on 40th Street between 9th/10th Avenues.

“The Garment District Alliance commends the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for selecting the world-class architectural advisory team of Foster + Partners and A. Epstein and Sons International for this important project. The Midtown Bus Terminal is one of New York City’s busiest transportation hubs, connecting millions of travelers to the heart of Midtown Manhattan. As we welcome all New Yorkers and visitors to experience the Garment District, we look forward to a reimagined, state-of-the-art facility that will not only enhance the commuter experience but will also complement our mission of fostering a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance.

The architectural advisory team will be tasked with ensuring that development of the new proposed facility prioritizes community feedback and industry-leading technology in its design to improve passenger experience, maximize operational efficiencies and foster sustainability. The joint venture was selected following a federally compliant competitive procurement process.

In early 2021, the Port Authority unveiled a new plan for the Midtown Bus Terminal replacement project that reflected public feedback from extensive community outreach, following the 2019 release of a planning level draft scoping document that analyzed alternatives and employed specific screening criteria. The proposal was updated to reflect the needs of bus riders and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the bus terminal, based on extensive community feedback.

The 2021 plan, which will form the basis of the design of the proposal, includes demolition of the existing bus terminal and construction of a completely new state-of-the-art main terminal at its current location, with a capacity increase of nearly 40 percent for commuter and intercity buses. It also includes a separate storage and staging facility that would move commuter buses out of street-level storage lots and accommodates intercity buses that now pick up and drop off on city streets in the vicinity of the existing terminal, and an enclosed ramp structure linking the Lincoln Tunnel with the bus terminal that will be covered by a deck and transform into nearly 3.5 acres of new public green space. The proposal would take no private land as it will be built on existing Port Authority property.

The bus terminal will be built for the future with a world-class traffic management system, the ability to accommodate electric, autonomous, and larger, articulated buses, and sensor-based monitoring systems to quickly identify and resolve issues with buses. The building will also include visionary sustainability and resiliency measures, from LEED certification and clean construction to onsite renewable energy, zoned ventilation, and heat recovery reuse technology. Community-friendly outwardly facing local retail will also benefit commuters and the community alike.

In addition to the bus terminal complex, the proposal also calls for up to four high-rise towers: one on Eighth Avenue between 41st and 42ndstreets; one on Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st streets; one on 11th Avenue between 39th and 40th streets; and one on 10th Avenue between 39th and 40th streets.

Prior and during the project’s planning-level scoping process, the Port Authority met extensively with local community and elected officials, which led to invaluable feedback and a stronger proposal heading into the federal NEPA review. As the NEPA review proceeds, ongoing planning conversations and public outreach will increase stakeholder engagement. The process entails the issuance of a draft environment impact statement (EIS), a public hearing and comment period on that document, and an expected release of a final EIS in summer 2023. A decision on the proposal would follow in the form of a Record of Decision.

The Port Authority’s construction plan for the new bus terminal will be developed with input from the construction industry and the local community. Tentative plans call for a phased construction approach with the staging and bus storage facility to occur first, so that it can serve as a temporary terminal while the existing terminal is being demolished and rebuilt. The decking over of sections of Dyer Avenue would occur early in the phased construction also providing temporary bus staging locations while the main bus terminal is completely rebuilt. Once completed, the decked over areas of Dyer Avenue would become important public green space that reknits the local community.

The project is expected to last eight years, breaking ground in 2024, with an anticipated completion date of 2031.