The George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, which opened in 1963, is set to undergo a long-delayed upgrade, according to the Port Authority. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Inside the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in Washington Heights, there are more pigeons than open stores.
"It's kind of like walking into early depression," said one person. "There's nothing open. The signs are kind of meaningless. The stores are non-existent."
But that's about to change, with the Port Authority set to start a long-delayed renovation of the 50-year-old terminal later this year.
"The facility's been tired, it's been underperforming, it's been in desperate need of investment, and that's what the Port Authority, under the governor's leadership, is bringing here," said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority.
The $183 million makeover will modernize the waiting area, add five more gates and quadruple the amount of retail space inside the terminal.
That's going to be a welcome change for the more than 4 million bus riders traveling in and out of the dreary facility each year.
"It's like some abandoned place, it looks like," said one person. "It really needs some upgrade."
"It's pretty grotesque, it's pretty disgusting," said another. "But hopefully, by the time they're finished, it will look like the Port Authority in terms of design."
The Port Authority says 300 to 400 jobs will be created during the construction phase, with the new stores adding 700 permanent jobs.
The last of the terminal's stores closed up shop at the end of last year, but once the renovation is completed by the early part of 2015, the new tenants will include Marshall's and Blink Gym, which have already signed leases with the Port Authority.
It will certainly beat the empty storefronts that line the terminal now.
"Retail in the neighborhood has been a real problem," Foye said.
The renovation is set to be completed by 2015.