Port Authority Bus Terminal, arguably New York's most soul-sucking transportation hub, is trying to beef up with a new, "upscale" food court, officials say. The board approved company OHM Concession Group to build out a food court with three "diverse, high-end dining options," according to a release. OHM will be paying about $15.2 million over a ten-year lease for the dining space near the main ticketing plaza — a rate that's far higher than what a Deli Plus, a post office, and Jamba Juice currently pay for the same space. The company, which operates airport food courts across the country, will start building in February.
Higher rent cost for the new food court is part of the Port Authority's expensive effort to improve the commuting experience, which is so terrible that John Oliver declared the terminal "the worst place on Earth." It's one aspect of the "Quality of Commute" program, which costs $90 million and includes additions like more cell phone service, Wi-Fi, and new restrooms. Ultimately, the Port Authority board wants to replace the whole thing with a $7 to $10 billion new space.
It's still unclear what sort of projects will go in at the Port Authority. OHM's other food courts include concepts like DC-based &pizza, Top Chef winner Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery, and Chick-fil-A. They're also filled with more traditional travel food like Dunkin' Donuts, The Great American Bagel, and Einstein's bagels. Despite the terminal's terrible reputation, ridership is expected to go up by 51 percent by 2040, and the changes are part of Port Authority's bid to make it a "world-class facility."