Hudson Yards: A New City Rising
“The new heart of New York.” That’s the bold expectation set out on the website of Hudson Yards, the massive mixed-use development under way along New York City’s far West Side. Now with more than half of the 28-acre site well into redevelopment, that vision is getting closer and closer to becoming reality.
“Hudson Yards is already starting to take shape as a city within a city. When it’s fully built out, it will roughly be the same square footage as the central business district in Dallas. It’s amazing,” says Tom O’Halloran, vice president of business development at Structure Tone.
Breaking new ground
Hudson Yards is, in fact, the largest private real estate development effort in the history of the United States. When completed, it will offer 27 million square feet of built real estate, from offices, hotels and retail stores to apartments, art centers and a school—plus 14 acres of gardens, art installations, parks and public spaces, including the end point of the city’s famed High Line.
The opportunity to revitalize such a prime piece of land in one of the world’s largest cities is actually the result of a serendipitous loss—New York’s failed bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, which went to London. Already earmarked for redevelopment, the site ultimately went to Related Companies and its partners, who envisioned a new neighborhood emerging above the active Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit rail yards.
Only the beginning
Commercial spaces were the first take to shape, starting with 10 Hudson Yards. This building, now completed, is already home to such notable firms as Coach, L’Oreal USA, SAP, VaynerMedia and Boston Consulting Group. On deck for completion is 30 Hudson Yards, scheduled to open in 2019 as the city’s second-tallest office building and the new home of Time Warner, Wells Fargo and a number of other leading media, finance and commerce organizations. Six more buildings are in various stages of planning and design to build out phase one, known as the Eastern Yard, including two more commercial towers (50 and 55 Hudson Yards), an Equinox hotel and fitness center (35 Hudson Yards), a retail podium featuring Manhattan’s first Neiman Marcus store, a residential tower (15 Hudson Yards) and The Shed, an art center, all surrounding a public square with additional retail and art installations.
Structure Tone is heavily involved in this first phase of development, building out tenant spaces in approximately 2 million square feet of the buildings so far. The firm built the stunning new offices of Boston Consulting Group in 10 Hudson Yards (see page 6 for more) and is now working on the offices of Time Warner and Wells Fargo in 30 Hudson Yards. “Class A tenants are certainly electing to move into these Class A buildings,” says Scott Corneby, Structure Tone executive vice president. “Time Warner alone makes up 26 floors of 30 Hudson Yards. While building out all of these spaces simultaneously on such an active site is complex, it’s exciting to see it all taking shape.”
It’s a remarkable venture, and one that is certainly bringing Structure Tone into trailblazing territory—right in their own backyard.
“One of the reasons we relocated our office to Midtown was to be close to Hudson Yards—not only because this is an increasingly vital area of the city, but also because so many of our employees are working there. We can literally watch the progress right from our office windows,” says Eugene White, Structure Tone senior vice president of business development.
That proximity has certainly been beneficial given the unprecedented—and sometimes unexpected—challenges of such a massive effort. “There are so many atypical components to this project, from the fact that most of this work is being built on top of a newly constructed platform above one of the world’s largest transit hubs, to raising an entire city block, to the typical unknowns of an active construction site,” says O’Halloran. “It’s a new frontier for the whole industry and it’s setting the bar higher at every turn.”
The future is now
All of the work under way now is only one phase of this incredible effort. Phase two will build out the Western Yard to include several residential towers, an office complex and a new K-8 school. And, of course, the blocks surrounding the Hudson Yards site are actively redeveloping as well, including 3 Hudson Boulevard, a 66-floor office tower developed by Moinian; 441 9th Avenue, a 25-story commercial building by Cove Property Group; and 66 Hudson Yards, also known as The Spiral, a 65-story, tiered commercial tower designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and developed by Tishman Speyer. Development within the area between 10th Avenue and West 33rd Street is also in the works, including three office towers, a residential tower and public spaces, all led by Brookfield.
To say that this is an exciting time for development in New York is an understatement. To many in the real estate business, it’s downright inspirational. “As someone involved in this industry for 20 years and as a New Yorker myself, I take a lot of pride in what’s happening in my city,” says O’Halloran. “To see something as revolutionary as Hudson Yards taking shape in front of me, and with my company’s involvement, is inspiring on so many levels.”