Vornado floats temporary outdoor event space at site of demolished Hotel Pennsylvania

All renderings are conceptual. Courtesy of Vornado

Vornado Realty Trust may bring an outdoor event space to the site of the former Hotel Pennsylvania as it delays constructing a 56-story office tower there. As first reported by Crain’s, the developer has floated the idea of “Penn Platform,” an 80,000-square-foot space for U.S. Open tennis matches, New York Fashion Week shows, concerts, soccer matches, and other events, in addition to giant billboards, as seen in conceptual renderings published in a marketing brochure. Located on 7th Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets, the site sits across from Penn Station and was once home to a 100-year-old hotel, which was demolished last year.

The outdoor space takes roughly half of the block between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, and West 32nd and West 33rd Streets. According to the brochure, Penn Platform “offers brands a unique opportunity for activation space on New York City’s newest stage.”

“The Platform’s open layout and advertising/signage opportunities makes it ideal for a wide range of events, while the bustling energy of the city ensures maximum exposure and engagement to make a lasting impression.”

Renderings show the event space being used for New York Fashion Week and U.S. Open tennis matches, with four tennis courts fitting into the nearly two-acre space.

Penn Platform’s most prominent feature would be a towering digital billboard measuring 150 feet high by 197 feet wide. While there are already large billboards located around the intersection, the size of the proposed digital billboard is unprecedented for the area, according to Crain’s. The signage would span the entire distance from West 32nd to West 33rd Streets and cover the entire back side of 100 West 33rd Street.

Looking south on 7th Avenue at the site of the former Hotel Pennsylvania (on left). Photo © Ondel Hylton

The site is slated to become Penn 15, a long-in-the-works massive office tower, now on hold because of current market conditions. A temporary space like Penn Platform would be able to generate profit for the company in the meantime.

A spokesperson for Vornado told 6sqft in a statement: “We are currently considering a number of potential interim options for the Hotel Pennsylvania site. The renderings in the presentation are for conceptual purposes.”

Plans to redevelop the broader area around Penn Station were put on hold last February following the pandemic’s effect on in-person work and the increasing vacancy in office buildings across the city. Steven Roth, CEO of Vornado, said at the time new construction was “almost impossible” because of the market.

“It’s a great site in the center of the city,” Michael J. Franco, president and CFO of Vornado, said during the company’s Q3 earnings call in October, referring to the Penn Platform space. “And whether it’s fashion shows or other temporary uses, we think there will be opportunities to generate some cash flow until the site is ready for development.”


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