Highest and Best Use: Penn Station Vision

Prime Contractor: AECOM
Client: MTA Long Island Railroad Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT
Date: December 2014
Location: New York, NY


MTA Long Island Rail Road, with participation from Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT, initiated a study to identify options for comprehensive improvements to the passenger concourse levels of New York’s Penn Station. The AECOM/Cushman & Wakefield team was selected to envision alternatives that improve passenger circulation, functionality, customer amenities and convenience.


  • Provide a design vision for the future with achievable short-, intermediate-, and long-term considerations of optimal station-wide configuration, including commuter circulation, lighting, and wayfinding.


  • The team conducted passenger surveys and market analysis as well as provided design input from the real estate perspective. Dr. Warren contributed a set of recommended alternatives for reconfiguring office and retail space within the station, activating underutilized concourse areas, and unifying lighting, signage, and wayfinding throughout the station.

  • The team created a detailed financial model comparing market rents at ground level to lease rates in the station. The team recommended specific designs to raise achievable rents and finance improvements.


  • The team delivered a long-range plan for station redevelopment with achievable interim stages. The MTA, NJ TRANSIT, and Amtrak have attained new levels of cooperation in seeking renovation and redesign of Penn Station.