The 5 Designs That Could Replace An Infamous NYC Transit Hub

Here’s how firms from Perkins Eastman to Pelli Clarke Pelli propose fixing the bus terminal, which was built in 1950.


New York City is finally on the road to getting rid of its heinous Port Authority bus terminal. Yesterday, the Port Authority unveiled five finalist designs for a reimagined terminal as a part of its international design and deliverability contest.


The Port Authority has been exploring the idea of replacing the 65-year-old bus terminal in earnest since 2015. Besides being an eyesore on the outside and a byzantine labyrinth inside, the bus terminal is hugely overburdened with commuters. And with an increase in demand for bus service across the Hudson, it will only get worse: The agency expects to see 337,000 daily commuters pass through the terminal by 2040, an increase of nearly 69% from 2011.

But redesigning the building has been complicated. The contest came under fire after politicians and community members protested that the Port Authority wasn’t sufficiently consulting the public on the project. Then there’s the issue of the estimated price of the proposals, ranging from $3.7 billion to a mind-boggling $15.3 billion. Port Authority makes it clear that these proposals are a starting point for what will likely be a much longer design process. “My instinct is that no one is going to emerge…as the final concept,” Port Authority Chairman John Degnan told AM New York. “There may be ideas in each of them–we certainly like the components that don’t require eminent domain or acquisition of private property. Some of them, you can gauge here yourself, by expense or other consideration, are probably not going to survive.”

Regardless, one of the designs below is expected to serve as a foundation for the redesigned transit hub–and in doing so, will eventually transform the neighborhood, along with the city itself. Check them out below, in order from least to most expensive.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

At an estimated cost of $3.7 billion, New York-based firm Pelli Clarke Pelli wants to build a 25% smaller “transit center” located west of Ninth avenue. Dubbed “Times Square West,” the terminal connects the under-construction Hudson Yards to Times Square and aims to bring jobs and retail to the area.

Arcadis of New York, Inc.

The $4.2 billion proposal, proposed by the New York arm of Dutch firm Arcadis, would put a new bus terminal on Dyer Avenue between 9th and 10th avenue–but would only build on land already owned by the Port Authority. The firm’s design calls for a new pedestrian plaza over Dyer Avenue, which would allow for a car-free entrance to the terminal, as well as a new 7 train stop nearby.

Perkins Eastman

New York-based firm Perkins Eastman’s $5.4 billion proposal puts the new bus terminal in the lowest floor of the Jacob Javits Center. It would take all buses, trucks, and ramps off city roads and relocate them underground, as well as connect with a new 7 train station.


Archilier Architecture Consortium

New York-based Archilier Architecture proposes a $7 billion terminal that would connect Hudson Yards with Hell’s Kitchen and redevelop the “no-man’s land” between them. The mammoth, 4-million-square-foot project would create 9.8 acres of rooftop park space, and the swooping, concrete facade would certainly make a statement in the neighborhood. The plan would largely use Port Authority land, but would also require the acquisition of an apartment building, 10 households, and a church.

Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative

The Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative proposal is both the most expensive and extensive of the designs. It proposes that the entire terminal move underground, right underneath the current building. The consortium includes Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and AECOM, who is behind the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway project. The plan would take the terminal out of sight, but would also cost the city an incredible $15.3 billion.

[All Images: via Port Authority New York & New Jersey]

About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.