Nearly three-quarters of the new towers would be office space, even though the pandemic has led many companies to embrace remote work and some to give up their offices. Roughly 16 percent of office space in the Midtown Manhattan area that includes Penn Station is available for lease, a record high, according to Colliers, a real estate service firm.
However, the project’s 1,800 residential units will now include 540 permanently below-market units, which was not part of Mr. Cuomo’s proposal, officials said. It also adds eight acres of public space, including a plaza roughly the size of Rockefeller Plaza that would limit car traffic — a reimagining of the streets around the station at a moment when many transportation advocates in the city believe more street space should be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Penn Station neighborhood development would still largely benefit a single company, Vornado Realty Trust, one of the city’s largest office developers, which owns four sites in the development zone and part of a fifth.
Steven Roth, the company’s chief executive, has described his vision of skyscrapers on Vornado sites around Penn Station as its “Promised Land.” On Tuesday, Mr. Roth said on an earnings call that he remained upbeat over the future of the project.
“We are very, very, very optimistic that the new government leaders at the city and state will be constructive, will be business-friendly and recognize that the Penn District is something that requires and demands their attention,” Mr. Roth said.
Mr. Cuomo, a three-term Democrat, resigned in August after a report by the New York State attorney general found that he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, including current and former government workers.
The state’s plan for modernizing Penn Station centers on removing most of its upper level to allow sunlight to shine through wherever possible in a dark and gloomy structure that squats beneath Madison Square Garden.