Called a “city within a city” by some and “the new heart of New York” by promoters, The Hudson Rail Yards Project will transform the far west side of Manhattan. Being built from the ground up by developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group of Canada over active rail yards they leased from the MTA, it will bring new choices to New Yorkers and global citizens for housing, commerce and culture.
Located between 10th and 12th Avenues from West 30th to West 34th Street, this former industrial area is humming with construction activity. More cranes seem to be concentrated here now than anywhere else in the city. According to their website hudsonyardsnewyork.com, this “new neighborhood for the next generation” is the nation’s largest private real estate development and the largest in NYC since Rockefeller Center. Related’s master plan spans 28 acres, half of which will be public gardens, plazas and playgrounds. The other half will comprise residential, commercial and retail options: namely 4,000 apartments in 2 residential towers, 3 office buildings, 16 restaurants curated by Thomas Keller of Per Se and French Laundry renown, a 200 room Equinox hotel and spa and 7 shopping levels with anchor Neiman Marcus occupying 3 floors and at least 100 other retailers (think Time Warner Center shops). More than 23,000 workers are expected to contribute to the megaproject’s completion by 2025.
The extension of the No. 7 Subway line from Times Square to a newly created station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, which opened in September last year, was the purported catalyst for Related’s commitment to the area. Costing $2.4B in taxpayer money, the mile long subway addition also provides easier access to the High Line and Jacob Javits Center and is a model of temperature controlled efficiency and sleek urban design.
The first of two residential towers, 15 Hudson Yards opened its sales gallery with a launch party for brokers last week. The 88 story condo offers 285 units of one to four bedrooms ranging from 979 sf to 5,137 sf according to their first availability list, and these are priced from $2.295M-$30M—from an entry price of $2,200/sf to an average of $3,200/sf. Buyers can choose from two interior design options, Hudson River or city views, and 9’10” or 10’10” ceiling heights. A full amenities package on 2 floors includes a 1,200 square foot spa, salon, fitness center and 75’ pool. The condo has a projected sell out of $1.74B plus an affordable component of 106 units. Construction which began in late 2014 is targeted for completion in 2018.
Related and Oxford Properties are also constructing a pair of glass and steel office towers at 10 Hudson Yards and 30 Hudson Yards. The former, a 52 story commercial tower at 10th and 30th opened this spring with anchor tenant Coach who paid $530M for 738,000 sf on floors 9-23 of the office condo which is now fully leased. A second taller skyscraper at 30 Hudson Yards began construction after Time Warner committed to be anchor. The 90 story office building will be the city’s 2nd tallest commercial building rising 1,296’. Private equity firm KKR & Co is reportedly purchasing 343,000 sf on the top floors. A third tower at 55 Hudson Yards began construction at 34th and 11th in January 2015 and will rise 51 stories; law firms Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy among others have leased space.
The development’s landmark centerpiece touted as “Manhattan’s answer to the Eiffel Tower,” The Vessel was recently unveiled. A 16 story bronzed steel and concrete structure, it is being built in Italy, costs $150M and measures 50’ at the base and widens to 150’. Resembling a giant honeycomb of intricate open lattice work with interconnected climbable staircases of 25,000 steps and 80 viewing platforms, the structure provides a mile long walking path that can accommodate up to 1000 people.
Another edifice, “The Shed,” a 6 story event and exhibition space, is scheduled to open in 2019. Encompassing a 500 seat theater, this building is being designed so that it can expand and retract to accommodate larger and smaller installations. Check out the very cool animated video at http://bit.ly/2b9KG1p.
According to a study commissioned by Related, the Hudson Yards project will contribute $25.6 billion to New York’s gross domestic product during construction and another $18.9 billion annually after completion—assuming a vacancy rate of 5% which some are saying may be unrealistic. Detractors are calculating that if tenants are moving from one area of the city to another, the net benefit to the city is zero. The new construction however is bringing much needed efficiency and air to NYC’s aging commercial stock.
As of this writing, Phase 2 of the area’s redevelopment is expected to be smaller than Phase 1 and will include 7 more residential buildings, 2M sf of additional commercial space and a 750 seat public school. The brainchild of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg despite his failed attempt to build a sports complex in a bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the revival of this once desolate landscape will create a new destination neighborhood, reshaping Manhattan’s skyline and enriching opportunities to New Yorkers and the world. We look forward to the promise of Hudson Yards.