The largest private development in the U.S. The biggest build-out in New York since Rockefeller Center. Descriptions of Hudson Yards tend to sound hyperbolic. It’s no exaggeration, however, that a whole swath of the city is now taking shape on 28 acres on the far western reaches of Midtown—built, as improbable as it sounds, on two massive platforms suspended over the rail yards where Amtrak and commuter trains continue to roll. The developer spearheading this engineering and construction feat is Related in a joint venture with Oxford Properties Group. Offering offices, apartments, a hotel, a department store, restaurants, and more, the 16 buildings, mostly tall, are the work of a variety of top firms in the hopes that, although the development is master-planned, Related Hudson Yards president Jay Cross explains, it won’t feel master-designed.
Tenants including Coach and L’Oreal have moved into Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates’s 52-story office tower, already fully occupied. That’s adjacent to the inland platform over the rail yards, now in place with buildings going up on it. Also rising there is Hudson Yards’s signature flourish, equivalent to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center: Heatherwick Studio’s 150-foot-tall copper-colored steel Vessel will be a sculptural jungle gym composed of intertwining staircases. Yet to be constructed, the platform on the Hudson River side of the site will support development expected to feel more like a 24/7 neighborhood, featuring a public school and a far greater proportion of residences. In addition to Related and Oxford, there are two public partner “developers,” if you will. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has extended a subway line to the site, and city government has provided property tax exemptions to companies relocating there and constructed a park. Eventually, half the acreage will be devoted to landscaped open space.