Hudson Yards (development)
Hudson Yards in October 2019
|Location||Above West Side Yard, Manhattan, New York City|
|Groundbreaking||December 4, 2012|
|Architect||Kohn Pedersen Fox|
|Developer||The Related Companies L.P.|
Oxford Properties Group Inc.
|Buildings||10, 15, 30, 35, 50, 55 Hudson Yards, and The Shed|
|Size||26 to 28 acres (11 to 11 ha)|
Hudson Yards is a real estate development in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York City. It is the largest private real estate development in the United States by area. Upon completion, 13 of the 16 planned structures on the West Side of Midtown South would sit on a platform built over the West Side Yard, a storage yard for Long Island Rail Road trains. The first of its two phases, opened in 2019, comprises a public green space and eight structures that contain residences, a hotel, office buildings, a mall, and a cultural facility. The second phase, on which construction has not started yet, will include residential space, an office building, and a school.
Related Companies and Oxford Properties are the primary developers and major equity partners in the project. Related and Oxford, along with several large investors, have funded Hudson Yards' construction from a number of capital sources, including from foreign investors through the EB-5 investment program. Mitsui Fudosan owns a 92.09 percent stake in 55 Hudson Yards, and a 90 percent stake in 50 Hudson Yards. The architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the master plan for the site, and architects including Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, Thomas Heatherwick, Roche-Dinkeloo, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro contributed designs for individual structures. Major office tenants include or will include fashion company Tapestry, consulting firm BCG, and Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs.
The site of Hudson Yards was initially intended for other developments, most notably in the early 2000s as the site of the West Side Stadium, during the New York City bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The plans for Hudson Yards were developed after the failure of the West Side Stadium. Construction began in 2012 with the groundbreaking for 10 Hudson Yards, and the first phase opened on March 15, 2019. Both phases are projected to be complete by 2024. Agreements between various entities including the local government, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and the state of New York made the development possible.
The special zoning for Hudson Yards (an area roughly bound by 30th Street in the south, 41st Street in the north, 11th Avenue in the west, and Eighth Avenue in the east) further incentivized the building of other large-scale projects. Hudson Yards is adjacent but unrelated to Manhattan West, 3 Hudson Boulevard, and The Spiral.
- 1 History
- 2 Rail yard platform
- 3 Phase 1
- 4 Phase 2
- 5 Neighboring projects
- 6 Financing and ownership
- 7 Tenants
- 8 Design
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Older site proposals
Several developers and other entities proposed uses for the rail yard during the 20th century. In 1956, William Zeckendorf suggested the construction of the "Freedom Tower", which would have risen 1,750 feet, making it the tallest building in the world at the time. Transportation to the new complex would have been via a "passenger conveyor belt" from further east in Midtown. Zeckendorf never purchased the rights, as he was unable to secure financing for the deal, given that large-scale speculative real estate projects were not an asset class that institutional investors and lenders took interest in at the time. The administration of mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. released a $670 million development plan in 1963, which was ultimately never realized.
In the 1980s, both the Jets and the Yankees proposed new stadiums above the rails, though none of these projects succeeded. Another ultimately unsuccessful plan for a new stadium for the Yankees was proposed above the West Side Yard in 1993. A similar plan for a Yankee stadium above the West Side Yard was proposed in 1996, and was endorsed by mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, the plan also received opposition from many other public figures, and was also not built. By the early 2000s, plans for the rail yard long included a new Olympics stadium, to become the home of the Jets after the games ended. Proposers dubbed the structure the "New York Sports and Convention Center". In addition to the stadium, rezoning the adjacent area would have incentivized the construction of some 13,000 new residential units and 28 million square feet of office space. This effort, led by Daniel Doctoroff, was unpopular with the public and politicians.
In January 2005, the New York City Council approved the 60-block rezoning, including the eastern portion of the West Side Yard. Michael Bloomberg, then the city's mayor, subsequently separated the city's broader rezoning plans from the rail yard stadium. In conjunction with the city, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a 12,700,000-square-foot (1,180,000 m2) mixed-use development to be built on platforms over the rail yard, which would remain in use throughout.
The MTA received three bids to cap and lease the rail yard. Cablevision (the owner of the nearby Madison Square Garden), the New York Jets organization, and TransGas Energy all submitted proposals. The Jets won the development rights, but several lawsuits filed after the bidding process alleged they won without paying a fair price. In June 2005, Sheldon Silver voted against the stadium, definitively eliminating the possibility of support at the state level and the possibility of the stadium's construction. Although Bloomberg and others expressed doubts about interest in the area from real estate companies after the stadium fell through, development nevertheless continued. The former mayor later expressed that the loss of the stadium may have been a "blessing" for New York.
The MTA received proceeds from the development's 2006 bond offering to pay for an extension of the New York City Subway's 7 and <7> trains to 34th Street–Hudson Yards station. With funding assured, the MTA proceeded quickly to construct the extension. The first construction contracts were awarded in October 2007, and the subway extension opened on September 13, 2015.
In late 2006, the city and the MTA backed out of a plan for the city to purchase the development site, and created a proposal to seek bids from private developers. This was followed by the a formal request for proposals in 2008 with the intention of creating a large-scale mixed-use development above the rail yards. Five developers responded to the RFP: Extell Development Company, Tishman Speyer, Brookfield, Vornado Realty Trust with the Durst Organization, and the Related Companies.
Brookfield's Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-designed master plan known as "Hudson Place" and "Hudson Green" proposed constructing 15 towers (four office and 11 residential/hotel) that would range in height from 300 feet (91 m) to 1,280 feet (390 m). The buildings would include 7,400,000 square feet (690,000 m2) of office space and 4,000 residential units, including 400 devoted to affordable housing. "Hudson Place" encompassed the office component covering the eastern portion of the railyards while "Hudson Green" was residential-focused and planned for the western railyards. Individual towers would have been designed by SHoP Architects, SANAA, Thomas Phifer, Handel Architects, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The development would have also included two hotels, a cultural center, school, two parks (4.4 acres for Hudson Green and 3.4 acres for Hudson Place), and 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of space for the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Brookfield planned to begin development in 2008 and wrap up work on the entire site by 2022.
Durst and Vornado hired FXCollaborative and César Pelli to design a development named "Hudson Center" which would have included 13 towers ranging from 250 feet (76 m) to 1,200 feet (370 m) tall. The development would be split between 6,000,000 square feet (560,000 m2) of office space and 6,500 residential units, 600 of which would have been affordable. The developers also would have included 12 acres of open space and a subterranean people mover system connecting the complex to Penn Station. Media company Condé Nast agreed to anchor the development by taking all 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) of office space in the largest office tower and move from their headquarters at Durst's 4 Times Square in 2015.
Extell, in a master plan designed by Steven Holl, proposed 11 towers with just two featuring office space and the rest devoted to 3,812 residential units. The company's proposal also featured 19.5 acres of outdoor space including an outdoor amphitheatre and a sculpture garden named after Sol LeWitt. The company also would have built a new ferry terminal on the Hudson River as well as a Long Island Rail Road stop at the site. Extell's proposal was fundamentally different than the others as they proposed constructing a suspension deck over the rail yards similar to a suspension bridge rather than the truss structure every other developer proposed. Extell claimed this method would be more cost-effective but the suspension structure also would not have been strong enough to support large buildings. Due to this, all of Extell's proposed towers were clustered at the edges of the site in order to sit on solid ground while the deck itself would hold only the proposal's open spaces and park. Other unique aspects included a central reservoir to collect stormwater, a geothermal cooling system, and cogeneration which together would reduce energy use by almost 50%. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ada Louise Huxtable praised the proposal, writing that it "could have the unity, character and potential beauty of a Rockefeller Center." The New York Times added to the praise, writing that the "proposal is the only one worth serious consideration."
Related's initial proposal envisioned 13 towers split between 3 office building and 10 residential structures. The company divided the space between 6,700,000 square feet (620,000 m2) of office space and 4,962 residential units. The towers would have varied in height from 350 feet (110 m) to 1,100 feet (340 m) and been designed by a diverse array of architects including Arquitectonica, Robert A. M. Stern, and Kohn Pedersen Fox. Proposed amenities included a school, winter garden, and 15.1 acres of open space. Related also secured a commitment from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to move their headquarters into one of the new office towers at the development.
Tishman Speyer's bid, designed by Helmut Jahn, covered 11 towers centered on four large office towers surrounded by seven smaller residential buildings. Two of the office towers would have stood at 900 feet (270 m) while the other two would be taller at 1,100 feet (340 m) with the accompanying residential buildings varying between 400 feet (120 m) and 570 feet (170 m) tall. The company's bid was the most office-focused with plans featuring 10,600,000 square feet (980,000 m2) of commercial space and 3,000 residential units. The proposed buildings would total over 12,000,000 square feet (1,100,000 m2) of space with 13 acres of open space and also include 379 units of affordable housing. Investment bank Morgan Stanley would have occupied all 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2) of office space in both the taller office towers as the company's headquarters and also would have provided equity and debt financing for the project.
Tishman Speyer, a New York-based real estate conglomerate, won the bid in March 2008. Tishman Speyer won a $1 billion bid to lease and cap the West Side Yard, with payment due as annual rent over a 99-year period. It would also spend another $2 billion for development over the rail yards, including for the two platforms over the yards to support 15 acres (6.1 ha) of public spaces, four office buildings, and ten high-rise residential towers. Tishman had secured the investment bank Morgan Stanley as both an anchor tenant and financial backer.
However, just two months later, the deal broke down when Morgan Stanley pulled out due to the late-2000s financial crisis. Subsequently, the MTA chose the Related Companies and Goldman Sachs to develop Hudson Yards under the same conditions. In December 2009, the New York City Council approved Related Companies' revised plan for Hudson Yards, and the western portion of the West Side Yard was rezoned. Following the rail yards' successful rezoning, the MTA signed another 99-year lease to the air rights over the rail yard in May 2010. The air rights were signed over to a joint venture of Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, which invested $400 million to build a platform above both the eastern and western portions of the yard on which to construct the buildings.
In April 2013, the Related/Oxford joint venture obtained a $475 million construction loan from parties including Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital Group and luxury retailer Coach. The financing deal was unique in several aspects, including the fact that it included a construction mezzanine loan, that Coach was a lender on both the debt and equity sides, and that the MTA reused a "severable lease" structure (previously used by Battery Park City) that allowed for the loans. A portion of the project was also financed by the EB-5 investment program, which uses capital from immigrants, who become eligible for a green card.
The groundbreaking for 10 Hudson Yards, which was not built on the platform, occurred on December 4, 2012. At that event, the start of construction was also announced for 30 Hudson Yards. No tenants had been secured for any building in the complex when construction started on 10 Hudson Yards. However, three tenants—L'Oreal, Coach, and SAP—were announced in 2013.
Construction on the eastern platform began in March 2014. The erection of the platform was necessary in order to start construction on 15, 30, and 35 Hudson Yards. The platform for the Eastern Rail Yard was completed in October 2015, and the western platform was completed by 2016. In anticipation of the completion of the structures at Hudson Yards, the section of the High Line elevated park adjacent to the development opened in September 2014. After several delays in the completion of the 34th Street subway station, the station opened the following September. However, the first building in the complex, 10 Hudson Yards, did not open until May 31, 2016.
Groundbreaking occurred for 15 Hudson Yards in December 2014, and work on 35 Hudson Yards and 55 Hudson Yards both started the following month. After pilings for the Shed adjacent to 15 Hudson Yards were completed, construction on the Shed began in mid-2015. A 16-story, honeycomb-shaped structure with stairwells named Vessel, in the center of Hudson Yards' public plaza, was unveiled to the public in September 2016. The pieces of Vessel were fabricated off-site and were brought to Hudson Yards for assembly starting in April 2017. Work on the final building in the first phase, 50 Hudson Yards, began in May 2018.
55 Hudson Yards topped out in August 2017, while 15, 30, and 35 Hudson Yards all topped out in 2018. All four structures were opened on March 14, 2019, as were the Shed, shopping center, and Vessel. In addition, neither the High Line nor the 34th Street station were completed at the time of their respective openings. A second entrance to the 34th Street station was opened in September 2018, while the High Line spur adjacent to 10 Hudson Yards opened in June 2019.
Higher costs for materials and land after the 2008 recession have caused real estate companies to seek lower labor costs. In New York City non-union labor has made inroads, although workers tend to have less training and experience. Douglas Durst, a real estate magnate in New York, has said "Related is leading the charge" among New York-based companies in employing non-union labor. Beginning in late 2017, unions working at the site alleged Related "continue[d] to look for deeper and deeper concessions" in their negotiations, and begin organizing a campaign referred to as "#CountMeIn".
Rail yard platform
The new platform upon which the Hudson Yards development is being built is bordered by 10th and 12th Avenues and by 30th and 33rd Streets. In 2014, it was expected to cost more than US$20 billion and was projected to eventually see 65,000 visitors a day. Construction on the platform began in March 2014. Construction was overseen by Related Companies' executive vice president, Timur Galen.
The 26.17-acre (10.59 ha) Hudson Yards project was to be constructed over the existing at-grade West Side Yard, allowing LIRR trains to continue to be stored during midday hours. The land parcel is bordered by 30th Street and Chelsea on the south, Twelfth Avenue on the west, 33rd Street and Hell's Kitchen on the north, and Tenth Avenue on the east. Eleventh Avenue runs through the site, and splits the redevelopment project into two phases. To minimize construction impact on the LIRR's ability to store trains during midday and peak hours, caissons were drilled into bedrock throughout much of the site, over which the platform was to be built. However, only 38% of the ground level at West Side Yard was to be filled in with columns to support the development. Much of the platform itself was built by a huge Manitowoc 18000 crane. The eastern platform, supporting the towers, comprises 16 bridges. The platform for the Eastern Rail Yard was completed in October 2015, and the western part of the platform was completed the following year.
In 2013, Amtrak announced it would build a "tunnel box" through the project areas to reserve the space for a future rail right-of-way such as the proposed Gateway Project. Construction began September 2013 and took two years. The underground concrete casing is 800 ft (240 m) long, 50 ft (15 m) wide, and approximately 35 ft (11 m) tall.
10 Hudson Yards
The 52-story, 895-foot (273 m) 10 Hudson Yards is located at Tenth Avenue and 30th Street, along the southeastern corner of Phase 1. It opened in 2016 and is anchored by Coach Inc. Ground was broken for the building on December 4, 2012. It was the first of the Hudson Yards buildings to begin construction, because it was not built over railroad tracks. However, 10 Hudson Yards does straddle the High Line spur to Tenth Avenue. 10 Hudson Yards opened on May 31, 2016, and was the first structure in Hudson Yards structure to be occupied by tenants. Tenants include L'Oreal, Sidewalk Labs, and Coach. Early on during construction, Coach purchased a stake in the building, which was sold back to Related toward the end of construction. Kohn Pederson Fox designed the building.
15 Hudson Yards
15 Hudson Yards, originally proposed as Tower D, is located on Tenth Avenue and 30th Street, near Phase 1's southwestern corner. The building is connected to a semi-permanent structure, a performance and arts space known as the Hudson Yards Cultural Shed. 15 Hudson Yards started construction in December 2014, was topped out in February 2018, and opened in early 2019. When complete, 15 Hudson Yards included 285 residential units. Its original design, with a pronounced "corset" at the middle of the tower's height, attracted attention.
The Shed is an arts center housed in the Bloomberg Building, a three-story structure adjacent to 15 Hudson Yards. The space is focused on providing cultural programming, and is maintained by an organization of the same name. Its most prominent feature is a retractable "shell" that wraps around its roof and its northern and southern facades. The Shed opened on April 5, 2019.
30 Hudson Yards
The 73-story, 1,268-foot (386 m) 30 Hudson Yards is located at Tenth Avenue and 33rd Street. It is the city's fourth-tallest building. It is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox with an observation deck that juts into the air. Construction began after caissons were sunk to support the platform over the tracks, the latter of which was raised 12 to 27 feet (4 to 8 m) above ground level and be level with the High Line. 30 Hudson Yards opened on March 15, 2019.
35 Hudson Yards
35 Hudson Yards is located at Eleventh Avenue and 33rd Street. Construction on the building's foundation was started in January 2015, and it topped out in June 2018. 35 Hudson Yards opened on March 15, 2019. The mixed-use building contains 137 condominiums, an Equinox brand hotel, medical offices, and retail space. David Childs, the chairman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, contributed the designs.
50 Hudson Yards
Work on the 1,011-foot (308 m)-tall 50 Hudson Yards, located at Tenth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets, began in May 2018, with construction expected to be complete in 2022. BlackRock signed on as an anchor tenant, and is to occupy 850,000 square feet in the building, but Facebook will occupy more space with 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2). When completed, it will rank as the fourth largest office tower in New York City in terms of available leaseable area, with 2,900,000 square feet (270,000 m2) available to lease. Foster + Partners designed the building. Along with 55 Hudson Yards, it is one of two structures in the first phase not located above the rail yard.
55 Hudson Yards
The 780-foot-tall (240 m) 55 Hudson Yards, located at Eleventh Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets, started construction on January 22, 2015, and topped out in August 2017. Mitsui Fudosan owns a 92.09 percent stake in the building. Like 50 Hudson Yards, 55 is not located over the rail yard, and was not included in the original master plan as created by KPF. Cooley, a law firm, signed a lease to occupy 130,000 square feet across five stories. Another law firm, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, would occupy 250,000 square feet.
To lower costs and allow flexibility during the build, construction emphasized the use of concrete over steel. Two architectural firms, Kohn Pederson Fox and Roche Dinkeloo, were involved in the design of the building, which is the first collaborative effort between the two firms.
The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards
Phase 1 also included a seven-story mall with 100 shops and 20 restaurants, called The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards. It has 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of space, including 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) in retail, including department stores.
In September 2014, Neiman Marcus signed to become the anchor tenant of the Hudson Yards Retail Space. The retail space, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and Elkus Manfredi Architects with a connection to the bases of 10 and 30 Hudson Yards, started construction in June 2015, with a 100,000 short tons (91,000,000 kg) order of steel, one of the largest such orders in the history of the United States. The mall opened on March 15, 2019.
The Neiman Marcus store occupies the top 3 levels and 1⁄4 of the mall, or 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2). Fairway, a locally based grocer, has a store in the lower floors of the building, occupying 45,875 square feet (4,262 m2). Chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller has opened a restaurant in the complex, in addition to selecting 11 other restaurants in the retail space. There is fine dining on the fifth through seventh floors as well as more casual fare on the second through fourth floors. The mall is anchored by Dior and Chanel on the topmost floors, with "a 'Fifth Avenue' mix of shops", such as H&M, Zara, and Sephora below them.
There is a 6-acre (2 ha) public square, with 28,000 plants and 225 trees, on the platform with a 16-story structure of connected staircases between the buildings in the middle of the square. The structure, titled Vessel, is designed by Thomas Heatherwick and cost US$150 million. The public square is a ventilation area for the West Side Yards, as well as a storm water runoff site. Storm water that runs off into the square is reused. Because it's on top of an active rail yard, the public square is located over a 6-foot (1.8 m) deep plenum above a cooling slab with 15 fans blowing 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) air and a 60,000-US-gallon (230,000 l; 50,000 imp gal) rainwater storage tank. The entire platform is supported by 234 caissons. The plantings themselves are rooted with "smart soil". The plaza opened along with the mall on March 15, 2019.
Vessel, informally dubbed The Shawarma, is a permanent art installation designed by Thomas Heatherwick. Heatherwick took inspiration from Indian step wells in the design. Stephen M. Ross has compared the structure to the Eiffel Tower. Vessel opened on March 15, 2019.
The western portion of the yard is bordered by 30th Street and 33rd Street in the north and south, and Eleventh and Twelfth avenues in the east and west. The western phase of the project is to contain up to seven residential towers, an office building at 33rd Street and Eleventh Avenue tentatively known as "West Tower", and a school serving Pre-K to eighth grade students. The third phase of the High Line will traverse Phase 2 of the project.
Work on the platform to cover the second half of the tracks was originally scheduled to begin in 2018, and Phase 2 was to have been completed by 2024. However, construction was later rescheduled to begin in 2019. Around $500 million of financing for Phase 2 was approved in mid-2018.
According to Architectural Digest magazine, Santiago Calatrava, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Thomas Heatherwick, and Frank Gehry are supposedly involved in the design of the second phase's residential towers. Related Companies has previously commissioned works from Stern, Heatherwick, and Gehry.
The Hudson Yards development is directly west of the second largest project in the area, Manhattan West, also built above previously exposed rail yards, and comprising 7 acres. Manhattan West is also a multi-building, mixed-use complex providing residences, a hotel, and offices.
Two large-scale, single-building office developments border the eastern portion of Hudson Yards. The larger, known as The Spiral, is owned by Tishman Speyer and features a design by Bjarke Ingels Group. The smaller development is known as 3 Hudson Boulevard, and although it lacks an anchor tenant, it is under construction.
Several existing or planned residential buildings border Phase 1. Two are owned by Related, One Hudson Yards and Abington House, and are unrelated to the Hudson Yards project. 601 West 29th Street and 606 West 30th Street are under construction south of the two Related developments, and despite the involvement of two separate real estate companies, are being developed together due to their proximity. Another Related development also on the West Side dubbed "Hudson Residences" is under construction at the same time as Hudson Yards. The company co-owns a site with Spitzer Enterprises with plans to develop both residential and office space.
Financing and ownership
Under the terms of their agreement with Oxford, Related retains a 60 percent stake in the complex.
Related is unusual among developers in that it retains ownership of the rental buildings it constructs and has a robust portfolio of affordable rental properties that provide consistent income. Initial funding came exclusively from Related and partner Goldman Sachs. After Goldman exited this arrangement, Related and its new partner, Oxford, secured a number of capital sources. These include conventional lenders, such as Wells Fargo, foreign investors through the EB-5 program, and a debt raise on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. $600 million of the project's financing has come from EB-5, making it the project to receive the most funding from the program. Other lenders include The Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Deutsche Bank, and Allianz. As of September 2017, Related had raised about $18 billion in funds.
Related has also received or otherwise benefited from $6 billion in investments and tax breaks from the city in conjunction with Hudson Yards' construction. While a New York Times article described the $6 billion as "tax breaks", a columnist for Crain's New York Business disputed this statement, saying, "There are two significant tax breaks which the New School totals at a little more than $1.36 billion", and that the rest of the investment was in infrastructure such as parks and the 7 Subway Extension. The $6 billion sum includes:
- $1.6 billion given by Empire State Development Corporation to Hudson Yards. The agency, which distributes funding through geographical districts, classified Hudson Yards as being in the same "economically troubled area" as the sparsely populated Central Park and low-income housing developments in Harlem, thereby qualifying the project for EB-5 funds.
- Funds for infrastructure projects that will serve the new development, including:
An additional $1 billion was given to other developers who were building nearby projects.
A number of companies have moved their headquarters or New York City office to Hudson Yards or rival developments. These include financial firms, law firms, and miscellaneous technology, fashion, and media companies. 10 Hudson Yards is occupied by Coach, the Boston Consulting Group, and Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs. 30 Hudson Yards would be occupied by Time Warner, DNB Bank, Wells Fargo Securities, and Facebook once it opens. 50 Hudson Yards would also be occupied by Facebook. 55 Hudson Yards would be occupied by at least three law firms (Boies, Schiller & Flexner; Cooley LLP; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy), as well as by Facebook, electronic trading platform MarketAxess and pharmaceutical company Intercept Pharmaceuticals. The city has enticed large tenants to Hudson Yards by making them eligible for discretionary tax credits once they add a certain number of jobs there.
Joe Patrice, writing for Above the Law, noted that with the move of Cooley LLP to 55 Hudson Yards from the Grace Building there was an "official trend" of law firms moving to the new office buildings on the far West Side. This move westward follows a trend from earlier in the 21st century, when firms began moving from parts of Midtown such as the Plaza District to Times Square and other areas with new office towers.
A number of financial firms have left offices in Midtown or the Financial District for the development. As a result of speculation that private equity company KKR might move to Hudson Yards, other finance-focused companies became more interested in the possibility of relocating there. KKR's long-time occupancy at the Solow Building in Midtown produced a similar effect, as Apollo Global Management, Och-Ziff Capital Management, and Silver Lake Partners had also taken space in the Midtown building. KKR ultimately decided to move to 30 Hudson Yards; Silver Lake announced it would leave the Solow Building for 55 Hudson Yards in 2017 after speculation it would do so. BlackRock, another major financial company, signed on as an anchor tenant at 50 Hudson Yards, where it is to occupy 850,000 square feet (79,000 m2).
Equinox Fitness also operates the world's largest Equinox-branded gym at 35 Hudson Yards. The building also contains an Equinox-branded hotel. Related owns a majority stake in the fitness brand, purchased in 2005.
Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the site's master plan, as well as four individual buildings: 10, 30, and 55 Hudson Yards and the shopping center. Firms and individual architects working on distinct buildings did not meet to produce a uniform aesthetic or review the plans for individual buildings together. Two architects involved in the project, Thomas Woltz and Bill Pedersen, have respectively compared the relationship between the buildings to "mastodons, pineapples, sheds, swizzlesticks and bubble mats" and "elephants dancing".
Justin Davidson, writing for New York, referred to 10 Hudson Yards (then known as the "Coach Tower") as "taller, fatter, and greener" than historical New York City skyscrapers, despite more staid interiors with typical open floor plans and corresponding curtain wall. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman called Hudson Yards a "gated community" catering to the upper-class, writing: "A relic of dated 2000s thinking, nearly devoid of urban design, it declines to blend into the city grid." The Guardian's architecture and design critic, Oliver Wainwright, said that "the real shock is that it's quite so bad", and that the new buildings represented "ungainly lumps", with the logic of design "presenting a mostly blank frontage of service hatches and lift lobbies to the city".
Hudson Yards sits within Manhattan's 100-year floodplain, and the rail lines have previously been flooded despite preventative measures. Given that the bulk of the new structures would rise from an already elevated platform, the development is above the floodplain, and most mechanical systems are similarly raised. In addition, new elevator pits would be made waterproof.
Klaus Jacob, a professor at Columbia University, has stated approval of the project stems from the "shortsightedness of decision-making" by its developers and the city in the face of impending climate change. In his 2017 novel New York 2140, author Kim Stanley Robinson mentions the inundation of the neighborhood by rising waters.
The rail yard development was designed to be technologically advanced, in that the owners would collect all sorts of data within the buildings using sensors and other data-collecting instruments. The innovations included:
- Air quality monitoring
- Heat mapping to track crowd size and energy usage
- Opt-in mobile apps to help collect data about users' health and activities
- Pedestrian and vehicular traffic monitoring
- Sensors collecting data about noise levels and energy and water usage
- Energy savings using a microgrid
- Organic and solid waste collection and recycling using pneumatic tubes installed by Envac, which operate at 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), making garbage trucks unnecessary
New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress designed the infrastructure with the developers of Hudson Yards. Fiber loops connected to satellite dishes on rooftops, to transponders, and to two-way radios would create a network covering the 14 acres (6 ha) of open space as well as 17,000,000 square feet (1,600,000 m2) of commercial space. The technology was designed to be adaptable — updates to infrastructure would be performed as new technological advances are made.
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