City and developers break ground on Hudson Yards

The Hudson Yards will ultimately include multiple towers for commercial and residential use, as well as a new public school and a cultural center.

It may have taken seven years, but the Hudson Yards will open by 2015, city officials promised today.

Politicians and developers gathered Tuesday morning to break ground on the Hudson Yards’ very first building, a 47-story tower that Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared will “transform our iconic skyline.”

The building, refered to as the South Tower by developers, will have a “soaring atrium” and be connected by a retail complex to a 2.4-million-square-foot North Tower at West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue.

“It will anchor this new neighborhood, and will become the heart of the new heart of New York,” said Steve Ross of Related, the company leading the Hudson Yards development.

The City Council approved the development of this swath of the West Side in 2005, but officials said what followed was a long road.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted the start of the project was “difficult and contentious,” and there was “not a lot of agreement” in early discussions, mentioning the controversial and ultimately killed proposal for a stadium on the West Side.

Ultimately, she said, all the players involved were committed to making the plan work, despite disagreements.

“This is a moment in land use and government history of New York where people didn’t just yell for the purpose of yelling — they yelled until they got to a point where they could agree,” Quinn said.

City officials said projects like these take time to figure out the details, some of which in this case were affordable housing and open green spaces, both of which are included in the Hudson Yards. The Yards will also be home to a new public school, a luxury hotel, and the final segment of the High Line.

Bloomberg called attention to another major component of the project: the city-funded extension of the 7 train, which Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pointed to as a source of significant new revenue for the MTA.

The Hudson Yards development also promises a non-profit cultural center along the High Line at 30th Street, and several floors of retail and restaurant areas similar to the Related-developed Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner building.


Why does development in NYC take so long?

New Yorkers often complain that the city’s major development projects seem to take an excessively long time to complete. The 2nd Avenue subway line is one such project, the first phase of which – running from 96th Street to 63rd Street, is set to be completed by December 2016, according to the MTA. While this is a project that has been picked up and dropped at three or four points in the city’s history, Second Avenue Sagas blogger Ben Kabak notes that this current iteration started in 2007, and that deadline has remained more or less steady since 2009 or early 2010. Among the causes of the delays in that project have been issues relating to where underground utilities are, as many were unmapped and so took longer to move.

Richard Anderson of the New York Building Congress explained that massive projects have many moving parts in their planning. “You have to have a vision right at the beginning of what this area of New York City could look like several decades from now — that’s the starting point,” Anderson explained. He also noted that the Yards in particular are a complicated endeavor. “This is not a common project because of the scale of it, and the requirements that a platform be built over a major transportation facility,” he pointed out.


Hudson Yards timeline

2004*: master plan put forth by Bloomberg administration to rezone a section the rail yard

2005: Council approves Bloomberg plan

2005-2009: Lots of yelling about rezoning and land use, according to Speaker Quinn

2009: Rezoning of western rail yards approved

2010: Contract signed by Related and the Oxford Properties Group with the MTA for development of 13 million square feet

2012: Breaking ground on South Tower, first commercial building in Hudson Yards

2014 (projected): Development of northern section of Hudson Yards, according to Mayor Bloomberg

2015 (projected): Completion of South Tower

*According to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, this actually started in 1995 when he was the Finance Commissioner and noticed this area provided no revenue to the city. He reportedly suggested to then-Mayor Giuliani that something be done for the West Side, but “nothing happened until the last Deputy Mayor Doctoroff and Mayor Bloomberg had a vision.”


Hudson Yards by the numbers

47 story tall South Tower

26 acre site

23,000 construction jobs

Over 80% of first commercial tower committed so far


What will be in the Hudson Yards?

- five floors of retail

- cultural center

- new public school

- public art & open spaces

- luxury hotel

- affordable housing

- 6 million square feet of commercial space



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Movies

Scarlett Johansson: “I guess I’m the reluctant action…

We’re always told that the brain is the most complex instrument in the world and new movie “Lucy” proves just why it’s such a force…

Movies

Review: Liking Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'…

Woody Allen's latest, "Magic in the Moonlight," concerns a magician (Colin Firth) trying to debunk an alleged psychic (Emma Stone).

Movies

Piano from 'Casablanca' up for sale at auction

An iconic piano featured in Rick's Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic "Casablanca" is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film…

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…