Will this be the final look for the Fulton St. Transit Center? Stay tuned.
The Fulton St. complex is a mess right now. The Cortlandt St. station on the BMT Broadway (N/R/W) line has been closed for nearly three years as work has progressed at a snail’s pace, and the Transit Center hub, originally scheduled for completion two years ago, has been delayed seemingly forever.
Yesterday, though, during the MTA Board’s Real Estate, Planning and Capital Construction Committee meeting, Capital Construction president Michael Horodniceanu proclaimed a firm deadline and a budget for Fulton St. According to Horodniceanu, construction on the complex will wrap up in 2014. The total cost will come in at $1.4 billion or twice its original projected cost. And the Transit Center’s dome — subject to much will it or won’t it debate — will be, well, something distinctive.
In a bold move, Horodniceanu guaranteed an on-time — at least for 2014 — delivery of the project. He first proclaimed the original 2007 deadline, set ten years ago when the MTA first broke ground at Fulton St., “totally unrealistic” and then said, “What I present today, I stand by. I expect you to hold me accountable to it.”
According to the plans presented yesterday, the Transit Center will still sit under a three-story building with 25,000-square feet for retail. The MTA has, however, scraped plans for a glass dome. For now, officials are simply promising something that will let in natural light to fill the glass-enclosed building. As expected, the dome was shelved because of costs.
Originally projected to run $750 million, the Hub will come in at $1.4 billion. The MTA has the money though for the project. Of the total, the original federal grant will cover $847 million, the MTA will kick in $129 million of its own money and stimulus dollars will cover the final $424 million.
Despite these above-ground concerns, though, work has continued underground, and the MTA set a series of deadlines for the complex. Looking ahead, riders on the A and C lines at Broadway/Nassau St. can expect 40 months of construction with service delays on nights and weekend.
Downtown Express, linked above, runs through a series of future deadlines: The Cortlandt St. station’s northbound platform will open in December with the southbound side closed until 2011. A new entrance on William St will open in 2011 as well. In 2012, the Dey St. entrance will open and the 4/5 station will get an overhaul. The work on the A/C mezzanine won’t wrap up until the spring of 2013.
I’m almost tempted to say, “So that’s that for the Fulton St. Hub,” but it’s not nearly that simple. The MTA has yet to choose a design for the top of its glass station house, and while that part of the project will be the proverbial icing on the cake in terms of projected completion dates, architectural decisions are never easy.
So the clock is ticking. Who knows how long Horodniceanu has as the head of Capital Construction? He’s been far more willing than prior heads to take public responsibility for missed deadlines and delayed projects and should, when the MTA rescue package dust settles, retain his position. He has five years to deliver a project that should be opening this year. He has $1.4 billion with which to work. The race is on.
To grasp the true scope of the bureaucratic mess surrounding the project, read back through the topic’s archives. For images of what the Hub and Transit Center will look like sans oculus, mosey on over to the Lee Harris Pomeroy page with some architectural renderings.