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Vornado Unveils New Midtown Plan: Less Moynihan, More Mall

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If an arena falls in the woods, and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound? Barely. Late yesterday, Reuters filed a story detailing Vornado Realty Trust executives' new vision for the Moynihan Station project and the endangered Hotel Pennsylvania, and it barely registered a blip on the radar. In fact, if it wasn't for the Municipal Art Society's New Penn Station blog, we would have missed it entirely. According to Reuters, if the plan to buy Madison Square Garden to force a move to the Farley Post Office doesn't work, Vornado will move ahead with Plan B, which involves a serious renovation of the existing Penn Station that includes the removal of the theater at MSG and the construction of new grand entrances on Eighth and Seventh Avenues. What's not clear is if the theater?excuse us, WaMu Theater?would be moved to the back of Moynihan, like what was originally planned for MSG (probs not, given the cost-cutting going on) or if it would just be sent to that big junkyard in the sky. And if you thought the apparent death of Moynihan Station was all the craziness in store for you, you're wrong!

Also according to the Reuters report, Vornado still would like to land a major tenant to take on a new office tower built on the site of the current Hotel Pennsylvania, the 1919 McKim, Mead & White building on Seventh Avenue across from the Garden that's loved by ... some. Failing that, Vornado could renovate the hotel and add three floors of retail, and connect that space to the Manhattan Mall! That's a shocker, because as far as we know, not one person has stepped foot in the Manhattan Mall since Vornado evicted Pretzel Time to make way for J.C. Penny.

And in other noteworthy Vornado Midtown news, the giant also plans on shuttering the Times Square Virgin Megastore, for the same reasons it will close the Union Square Virgin: Vornado bought Virgin Megastore in order to phase out the stores and capitalize on the prime real estate. Apparently, Virgin only pays $54/square foot on that huge Times Square space, when current market rates could fetch $700. Wow, Times Square has changed, eh?
· Vornado goes to "Plan B"; closing Virgin Times Sq [Reuters]
· Easy Fix For Moynihan Station Plan: Buy the Garden [Curbed]
· Hotel Pennsylvania, Potential Landmark, Used as Toilet [Curbed]