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NYguy Jan 14, 2007 3:31 PM

NEW YORK | Hudson Yards; 40 msf of development
With land available for large office construction in Manhattan scarce, the City has turned to its last "frontier" - the West Side of Manhattan - to expand the commercial core. Known more for its lowrise character and parking lots, the Hudson Yards redevelopment will transform this last frontier into a vital piece of the City's future growth.

This will be aided in part by the extension of the number 7 subway line, at last bringing the subway service into this otherwise "desolate" area of the city.

The City will also cover two large, open railyards with development and open space. A major new boulevard - Hudson Boulevard - will be the center of the new commercial and residential construction.





NYguy Jan 14, 2007 3:43 PM

The early planning once included a home for the New York Jets football
team. A vote by the Public Authorities Control board required unanimous
approval for the state's share of contribution to the stadium. Sheldon Silver,
concerned about lack of progress at the WTC site, decided to vote No on the
state's aid. As a result, though a relatively small part of the overall pricetage
for the stadium, it proved too costly for the JETS, who will now share a new
stadium in the Meadowlands with the New York Giants.

The Hudson Yards redevelopment meanwhile, continues to move forward.

Older rendering of potential development (with stadium)

Photos of the model presented at the Center for Architecture

Towers in the MSG and Brookfield development sites

Path of the new Hudson Boulevard

hoosier Jan 15, 2007 3:30 PM

I like the boldness of the plan, I just hope the new skyscrapers don't detract from the Empire State Building.

NYguy Jan 15, 2007 4:42 PM


Originally Posted by hoosier (Post 2565796)
I like the boldness of the plan, I just hope the new skyscrapers don't detract from the Empire State Building.

They will. The Empire State was built in 1931. It's not reasonable to expect cities to have reached their peak (skylinewise) over 7 decades ago. Look at it this way, how many cities now have tallest that were built in 1931?

drew11 Jan 19, 2007 1:45 AM

more pictures

NYguy Jan 19, 2007 1:39 PM

The West Side as it appears today:

Site of Convention Center hotel

drew11 Jan 20, 2007 9:09 PM

here is a photo of where most of the largest developments will be. hotel penn, m.s.g brokfield, maybe two penn plaza, the last building to the western railyards next to the brookfield site, railyards, and the largest site in the large scalie plan. also the subway station and the photo was taken on top of the empire state building.

NYguy Jan 21, 2007 10:18 AM

Daily News

Copa loses cabana for the third time

The Copacabana nightclub on the West Side will be demolished to make way for an extension to the No. 7 train line, but its owner has vowed to reopen in a new home.

"We aren't closing," said owner John Juliano, who has to vacate the building by July1. "I mean, maybe we have to renovate a new space. That may take some time, but we're coming back."

The first Copa opened in 1941, and the one on W. 34th St. near the Jacob Javits Convention Center is its third incarnation. Barry Manilow immortalized the club in his 1978 song "Copacabana."

"And it still is the most famous name in the world," Juliano said.

Jonathan Lemire and The Associated Press

2-TOWERS Jan 21, 2007 5:11 PM

they blew it ,what we....N.Y.C.,could of had, :P

NYguy Jan 22, 2007 11:20 PM


Hell's Kitchen residents fight for subway stop

By Justin Rocket Silverman and Chuck Bennett
January 22, 2007

The MTA is playing a "shell" game with the No. 7 extension that it will regret for years to come, agency officials and transit advocates warn.

Late last year, the MTA quietly dropped plans to create a new station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street because of budget worries. Instead, the extension will create just one stop, at 10th Avenue and 34th Street, and a "shell" of a station for future development at 41st Street.

That's an outrage, MTA watchers say, because it cheats residents and businesses of a much-needed stop.

"Do it as you build the line or it will never get done otherwise," said Andrew Albert, a nonvoting rider representative on the MTA board.

Albert and the New York City Transit Riders Council are scheduled to hold a news conference Monday morning along with elected officials to demand the creation of the 41st Street station.

"Thousands of people live in the area. They deserve a station," Albert said. "Its an insult to watch the trains whiz by your neighborhood."

Even worse Albert said, the MTA's own bean counters estimate, that if they build the 41st Street station now it would cost $200 million, but to wait several years to build it the cost could easily top $400 million.

Last November, the MTA said it will only build a "shell" of a station that could be converted into a functioning station at some point in the future.

City Hall, whose main concern is providing subway service to its West Side Yard development plan, is providing $2.1 billion, but the MTA is on the hook for the inevitable cost overruns.

Albert said City Hall should use its budget windfall to create the station. The one-stop extension is scheduled for completion in 2012 with construction scheduled to start in December this year.

Newly installed MTA executive director Elliot "Lee" Sander has earlier this month that he will review the concerns about the 10th Avenue station.

Residents and local business owners were miffed at being stiffed out of a new station.

"For the people in the neighborhood, it's a huge injustice that they are not going to put a subway stop here," said Bob Leventhal, owner of the 42nd Street Wine Loft at the corner of 10th Avenue. "The people here deserve it."

Hell's Kitchen resident John Hoover, 80, said its unfair to be bypassed.

"The people here need it," he said. "I have to walk 15 minutes to the Port Authority every time I want to get a train."

danger_doug Jan 25, 2007 5:00 AM

^That is asinine. Build the 10th Ave stop or at least 11th... it's silly to go straight from 8th and 42nd to 11th and 34th. It will spur MORE development.

James Bond Agent 007 Jan 25, 2007 5:14 AM

My father works in the building between the Brookfield site and the eastern yards. It's a pretty dead neighborhood. This should be a huge boost to it.

NYguy Jan 25, 2007 2:27 PM

^A lot of media companies in that building, including the Daily News..

The MTA has decided that the full stop will likely be built at 10th Ave so that's good news.

NYguy Feb 4, 2007 7:12 AM

NY Times

Residential Towers to Sprout Soon on Far West Side

A rezoning of a 310-acre stretch of factories, parking lots and warehouses on the Far West Side has led the way for plans for residential towers.

February 4, 2007

The developer H. Henry Elghanayan likes to be at the head of the line.

He said that his company, Rockrose Development Corporation, was one of the first to build new residential towers in Lower Manhattan and the West Village and at Queens West in Long Island City and Battery City Park.

This month, Mr. Elghanayan will be the first developer to start building a residential complex on the Far West Side of Manhattan, which is the direct result of the Bloomberg administration’s rezoning of a 310-acre stretch of factories, parking lots and warehouses for large-scale development two years ago.

Rockrose is constructing 44-story and 24-story apartment buildings on opposite sides of 10th Avenue, between 37th and 38th Streets
, in what has been officially renamed the Hudson Yards district. “Once people see that we are indeed going forward,” Mr. Elghanayan said, “you’re going to see an explosion of growth in that whole area.”

Builders are already flocking to the once-sleepy Hudson Yards, an area crisscrossed by bus ramps and Lincoln Tunnel entrances.

Indeed, a half-dozen developers plan to start residential projects there in the next six months, with a combined total of nearly 6,000 apartments, 20 percent of which will be for low- and moderate-income families.

There are also five slim-budget hotels either under construction or in development on the block bounded by 39th and 40th Streets, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

Most developers say that commercial towers will be slower to follow in a district that stretches from roughly 30th to 42nd Streets, west of Eighth Avenue. But Brookfield Financial Properties is talking to at least one investment bank interested in its office site on Ninth Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets.

City officials say they are making progress on plans for the $2.1 billion extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street, which, they add, will spur the development of office towers in the area. The Bloomberg administration sold $2 billion in bonds in December, much of it for the subway project. It hopes to issue the tunneling contract later this year and begin construction.

The city is also working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to devise a plan for selling the development rights over the West Side railyards, which sit on both sides of 11th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets. “There’s an extraordinary amount of activity going on, precipitated by high rents in Midtown,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development. “You’re really beginning to see the outlines of what Hudson Yards is going to look like.”

But just north of the yards, the fate of the long-planned expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is up in the air again, at least temporarily. Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s administration has said that the convention center is one of several projects “under review.” According to hotel industry executives and city officials, Mr. Spitzer has questioned the wisdom and cost of the $1.7 billion project, in part because of the vertical nature of the expansion, which runs counter to the horizontal layout of most convention centers.

Critics contend that adding floors to the convention center could make it more difficult and expensive to present successful trade shows and conventions. Some state officials prefer an expansion that would go south, over the West Side railyards.

That, however, would clash with the Bloomberg administration’s plan to develop residential and commercial towers on platforms over the railyards. It could also affect the three developers and hotel operators who submitted competing bids to build a 1,500-room hotel across 11th Avenue from the convention center.

But it remains to be seen what the Spitzer administration will do with the convention center after the review. Patrick J. Foye, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, declined to comment.

Mr. Doctoroff said he respected the governor’s right to evaluate the project and would participate in those discussions.

“There will be no ideal solution as long as Javits is still there and you want to continue to operate it during construction,” he said. “We continue to believe it is a very good solution and we ought to go ahead with Phase II at the same time.”

The second phase, however, could add $1 billion to the price and require closing the convention center for several years. The hotel industry has no enthusiasm for raising the $1.50 a night room tax dedicated to the expansion plan. City officials have suggested raising the tax to $2, noting that average room rates soared 12.6 percent last year.

Mr. Doctoroff and the transportation authority have met with real estate developers and community leaders to discuss the eventual sale of development rights over the railyards in August. The initial plan called for rights to be sold to one or two developers, who would build platforms over the yards for residential and commercial towers. But most developers now say that government should finance the platform construction, which could cost $1 billion.

There is also debate over whether the development rights should be sold to one developer, or divided and sold to a variety of builders, a strategy that could generate more money over time for the transportation authority.

Developers also want the city to demolish the elevated railroad line, known as the High Line, that hugs the western and southern perimeter of the railyards. That proposal is opposed by several community groups, which want to see the entire length of the High Line converted to a park.

In the meantime, the residential juggernaut continues. The developer Joseph Moinian is starting work on a $760 million, 60-story apartment tower on the north side of 42nd Street, west of 11th Avenue, next to his 46-story Atelier condominium tower.

Directly across 42nd Street, Larry Silverstein is close to starting construction of two 58-story glass towers, where 20 percent of the 1,276 apartments will be set aside for low-income families.
An adjacent 16-story building will have 83 apartments for moderate-income tenants. The new buildings will be next to the River Place complex that Mr. Silverstein built in 1999.

All five buildings, designed by the architect Costas Condylis, sit within the Hudson Yards district. The area differs from most of the district in that developers have long been able to build high-rises along 42nd Street.

At the southeast corner of 10th and 42nd Street, Stephen J. Ross, chief executive of Related Companies, said he expected to start construction this spring on a roughly 60-story tower with 500 apartments, 250 hotel rooms and a set of theaters.

The Dermot Company said it would start building its $450 million Hudson Mews project, two 18-story buildings over platforms on opposite sides of 37th Street, west of Ninth Avenue, along with a public park. Stephen Benjamin, a principal at Dermot, said the company was completing its financing and negotiations with the Port Authority to buy development rights over ramps leading to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Farther east, on the north side of 37th Street, Glenwood Management plans to break ground later this year for a 24-story building with 550 apartments.

Jeff Levine of Douglas Development expects to start this spring on a 34-story building with 370 apartments just outside the Hudson Yards district, at the southeast corner of 30th Street and 11th Avenue.

Like most of the developers, Mr. Moinian is bullish on the future. He has bid in partnership with the Marriott hotel chain to build the convention hotel and banquet hall. He also owns two sites for commercial projects in the area, although he cannot begin construction for at least five years because the sites lay within the path of the subway extension.

“Our commitment to the area is very, very strong,” Mr. Moinian said. “There’s no question that this is the next part of town where the action takes place.”

Dartagnan Feb 6, 2007 12:46 AM

Skyscaper for Hudson Yards Development Site #5?
Anyone know anything about the commercial Skyscraper planned for Hudson Yards zoning plan "development site #5" which is on the west side of 10th Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets?

NYguy Feb 7, 2007 12:38 PM

NY Post


The Daily News Building (above) at 450 W. 33rd St. has been sold.

February 7, 2007 -- SCOTT Lawlor's Broad way Partners have swooped in and tied up 450 W. 33rd St. for north of $700 million.

The chunky former John Hancock Building is being almost entirely recapitalized by Joseph Chetrit and his investors through Douglas Harmon of Eastdil Secured.

A slender tower of about 800,000 feet can be added to the 1.7 million foot chunky, sloping structure that's home to both the Daily News and the Associated Press wire service.

Harmon confirmed to us the deal went to contract but would not discuss any of the details of the complicated transaction.

"They are evaluating how best to maximize the value of the assets," Harmon said of Lawlor's group.

As we revealed in last week's column, the building was on the market but it has become obvious that buyers have to move fast to grab that brass ring.

NYguy Feb 14, 2007 12:42 PM

NY Times

M.T.A. Says It Can’t Handle Cost Overruns on No. 7 Project

February 14, 2007

The new leadership of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority signaled yesterday that it had deep concerns over a deal with the city to build a $2.1 billion extension of the No. 7 subway line, saying the authority did not have the money to pay for possible cost overruns or other additional expenses.

“It is M.T.A.’s position that we are under no legal obligation to absorb any additional costs or overruns,” Elliot G. Sander, the new chief executive, wrote in a letter to Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat. He was responding to a letter from Mr. Brodsky expressing concerns that the project could exceed its budget. Mr. Brodsky made Mr. Sander’s letter public yesterday.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Sander said he would not grant any contracts to proceed with the work until the financial issues were hammered out.

Under the project, the No. 7 line, whose western terminus is Times Square, would be extended to the Javits Convention Center on the West Side. The city and the authority signed a deal in September in which the city agreed to pay for the project and the authority agreed to be in charge of design and construction. The city, however, capped its contribution at $2.1 billion.

Mr. Sander said the authority’s long-term spending plan for major projects was already handicapped by widespread cost increases.

“At this point our position is that if there are cost overruns, we’re not in a financial position to be able to assume those,” Mr. Sander said. He said paying for any part of the No. 7 extension could jeopardize other projects, like the Second Avenue subway, a Long Island Rail Road link to Grand Central Terminal, and maintenance of the transit system.

He said other unbudgeted costs had to be considered, including a projected $150 million for new subway cars needed to run on the extended line. Mr. Sander, who inherited the deal when he took over the authority in January, said he spoke yesterday to Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development, to explain the authority’s position.

“We want to get it done, but we have to work through these financial issues,” Mr. Sander said.

Mr. Doctoroff said the discussion was premature because there was no indication that the project would exceed its budget. “Our view is that we certainly had an understanding and that the city would be responsible for all costs up to $2.1 billion and that the M.T.A. would bear the responsibility for costs above that,” Mr. Doctoroff said. “We’re going to sit down and talk, but our view is, the deal is the deal.” Both Mr. Doctoroff and Mr. Sander said they believed that the project would go forward.

Mr. Brodsky, the chairman of an Assembly committee that oversees the authority, said in an interview he feared that hidden costs could harm the authority’s bottom line.

“If we keep to the basic principle, which is the city will pay and the M.T.A. will build, we’ll be O.K.,” Mr. Brodsky said. “But right now there are hundreds of millions to almost a billion dollars of costs that the M.T.A. would probably have to absorb that would endanger the Second Avenue line, the East Side link and other parts of the capital program, and that is simply unacceptable.”

NYguy Apr 13, 2007 11:37 AM

Finally, back to the railyard development...

NY Sun

Colossal Plans for Hudson Yards
City Soon To Request Proposals

April 13, 2007

The city is about to unveil its preliminary proposal for the 26-acre Hudson Yards site over the MTA's rail yards, a colossal development that is said to include about 13 million square feet of an undetermined mix of residential and office space.

The project, which could be handed over to a single developer, would be substantially larger than either the World Trade Center redevelopment or the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

Nearly two years after the city lost its bid to build a stadium on the West Side site, the Bloomberg administration and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the rail yards site, will come forward with design guidelines at the end of the month, a city official said. It plans to issue a request for proposals in May.

At least four major developers are working on bids for the mega-project, according to the president of the Real Estate Board of New York, Steven Spinola. The cost of the project — including the task of building a platform above working rail yards — is so high that Mr. Spinola said developers could seek to partner with pension funds or private equity funds to foot the bill. He said current market conditions and the expected abundance of office development around Penn Station to the east would probably lead a developer to build mostly apartment towers.

Numerous officials and others involved in discussions say there are many points of contention regarding the brisk timeline and design guidelines, particularly the MTA's insistence on flexible guidelines that do not offer specifics about the makeup of buildings or infrastructure. By not setting out detailed requirements for a developer, the MTA could expect to attract higher bids, though community leaders say issues such as "affordable" housing and public infrastructure should be agreed upon at this point in the process so as to ensure its eventual approval through the city's uniform land use review.

"It's an extremely ambitious project in terms of its size, and it's also ambitious in terms of its time frame," Mr. Spinola, who has been involved in discussions regarding the guidelines, said. "The MTA is anxious to have the deal done, and done quickly."

The giant swath of land west of Pennsylvania Station is one of the last remaining large undeveloped spaces in Manhattan. Despite the failed stadium bid, numerous projects such as the no. 7 line subway extension, the pending expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and improvements to Hudson River Park would reinvent the area west of Midtown when combined with a development over the yards.

The site atop the existing rail yards was a cornerstone of the city's failed bid for the 2012 Olympics, as it would have included the main stadium on the western half of the area and a cultural center and office towers over the eastern half.

After the bid failed in mid-2005, the city eventually negotiated a deal with the MTA in which the transit authority would take responsibility for the bidding process, and any new development would go through the city's land use review process. The city initially wanted to buy the western yards from the MTA, though it dropped its plan late last year and settled on the existing plan, for which future developers will give payments in lieu of taxes to help fund the no. 7 subway line.

The land over the eastern half of the rail yards was rezoned in 2005, and the current design guidelines being created pertain only to the western half, which would be rezoned by the developer or developers that win the bidding process.

In order to create a project of this scale that could successfully move through the city's land use review process, the MTA and the city agreed to create the designs with significant input from stakeholders including the development industry, the City Council, and the community.

While the various parties have yet to reach an accord, the city and the MTA are still hoping to request bids on the project starting next month.

To the concern of community members, the city appears to be leaning toward demolishing a stretch of the High Line, which could be transformed into an elevated stretch of parkland on the western half of the yards.

"I would like to see as much of the High Line stay up as possible," state Senator Tom Duane said in a phone interview. "I know that there are other stakeholders that don't necessarily agree with that."

The chairwoman of a land use committee at Community Board 4, Anna Levin, who has been involved in discussions with the city and state, said that while the city has been pushing against the High Line, the MTA has been working to create a site plan that lacks specificity, a point that several officials involved in the process have confirmed. Ms. Levin said she and others have been pushing for the design guidelines to include specifications about affordable housing, building placement, the inclusion of infrastructure, and a school.

Restrictions on construction can limit developers' expected returns, and thus bids for the project would likely be lower than without the regulations. While there have been some differences and the timeline has been accelerated, Ms. Levin said she does not believe the project is highly contentious.

A spokesman for the MTA, Jeremy Soffin, said the agency is committed to working with the city and other parties to find a solution "that will provide vital funding of the MTA's capital needs and ensure a wonderful addition to the West Side community."

It is thought that bids for the development could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the MTA, and the agency's seemingly aggressive push for a more lucrative plan is consistent with the Spitzer administration's pledges to exact more from developers in large projects on public land.

While revenue for the MTA is important, the president of Manhattan, Scott Stringer, said in an e-mail that other needs have yet to be worked out.

"We still have a ways to go — especially on affordable housing and open space — before we have the consensus needed to move forward," Mr. Stringer said.

The city plans to disclose its initial design guidelines at a public meeting at the end of the month, according to an official familiar with the process. From there, the city is aiming to issue its request for proposals by the end of May.

The requests for proposals are for both the eastern and western halves of the rail yards, and the city official said the project does not necessarily have to be completed by a single developer.

Once the developer is selected, it will conduct an environmental review and seek project approval from the City Council and the city's planning commission.

Scruffy Apr 13, 2007 6:02 PM

end of the month. OK awesome. this is exciting. 13 mil sq feet!

austin356 Apr 13, 2007 6:55 PM

Is the zoning still the same as outlined in the OP links? For some reason I thought I saw those a few years ago, and was wondering if everything is the same?

Well personally I think the FARs are to stingy. I mean come on, Atlanta, one of the worlds most suburban cities, has base FARs of over 30. I really think the area would be best off by not having any restrictions on density, or at least absurdly high restrictions such as FARs of over 50.

There is very little space to develop in the whole nation, let alone Manhattan, to do such a project, and it should accordingly be done to its absolute greatest potential. If they zone it supertalls will come!!

Overall, imo, it is just sad to see what could be one of the best urban districts in the world, be instead limited to a standard urban district.

NYguy Apr 14, 2007 11:38 AM


Originally Posted by austin356 (Post 2765434)
Is the zoning still the same as outlined in the OP links? For some reason I thought I saw those a few years ago, and was wondering if everything is the same?

Well personally I think the FARs are to stingy. I mean come on, Atlanta, one of the worlds most suburban cities, has base FARs of over 30. I really think the area would be best off by not having any restrictions on density, or at least absurdly high restrictions such as FARs of over 50.

Manhattan FARs are that way because the city is so dense. It's the FARs together with regulations, such as setbacks, that give the city its vitality without sacrificing too much.

Zoning for the railyard development isn't complete.

NYguy Apr 16, 2007 2:33 PM

These graphics better explain how the size of a building relates to city zoning...

NYguy Apr 17, 2007 6:39 PM

A look at some of the development sites, and potential development (both commercial and residential) they could bring....posted in the convention center hotel thread:

eastern railyards ( 3 towers)
size 570,000 sq ft max far 11 max fa 6,270,000

four corners
site 705a size 40,116 sq ft max far 33 max floor area 1,323,828

site 705b size 71,203 sq ft max far 33 max floor area 2,349,699

site 706a size 46,634 sq ft max far 33 max floor area 1,538,922

site 706b size 67,452 sq ft max far 33 max floor area 2,225,916

site 707a (hotel site) size 57,007 sq ft max far 24 max floor area 1,248,168

site 707b size 64,205 sq ft max far 24 max floor area 1,540,920

site 708a size 57,694 sq ft max far 24 max floor area 1,246,190

site 709a size 63,819 sq ft max far 21.6 max floor area 1,378,490

site 710a size 69,547 sq ft max far 20 max floor area 1,390,940

site 711a size 36,800 sq ft max far 20 max floor area 736,000

site 1069a size 83,160 sq ft max far 20 max floor area 1,663,200

site 708b size 43,000 sq ft max far 15 max floor area 645,000

site 709b size 57,712 sq ft max far 15 max floor area 865,680

site 710b size 54,040 sq ft max far 15 max floor area 810,600

site 711b size 22,500 sq ft max far 15 max floor area 337,500

site 1069b size 17,533 sq ft max far 15 max floor area 262,995

site 733a size 19,750 sq ft max far 13 max floor area 256,750

site 734a size 19,449 sq ft max far 13 max floor area 252,837

site 735a size 38,049 sq ft max far 13 max floor area 494,637

site 1050a size 28,664 sq ft max far 15 max floor area 372,632

Brookfield site
site 729a size 128,600 sq ft max far 19 max floor area 2,443,400

site 729b size 80,729 sq ft max far 19 max floor area 1,533,851

site 729c size 137,310 sq ft max far 21.6 max floor area 2,965,896

site 728a size 16,775 sq ft max far 21.6 max floor area 362,340


Greater detail on each site beginning on page 31

NYguy Apr 17, 2007 6:50 PM

Some of the commercial sites...

NYguy Apr 25, 2007 11:25 AM


Behold, a Mini-City Rises
It’s Canary Wharf on the waterfront. Millions of feet of office space, thousands of apartments—Bloomberg’s developers dream big in the Far West Side
Jeff Katz.

by Matthew Scheuerman
April 24, 2007

Five years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg painted a utopian picture of the future of New York on the canvas of the disjointed tenements and taxi garages of midtown west.

It was to be a city where college-educated office workers would walk to work at brand-new office buildings with floor plates the size of football fields. A tree-lined boulevard, broader than Park Avenue, would slice up New York’s bulky street grid and draw pedestrians down to a gigantic civic complex with a gigantic football stadium.

The boulevard was called Olympic Boulevard; the stadium, Olympic Stadium.

Remember those days?

The Mayor’s aides called the plan for the new West Side “magnificent,” “the single best investment in our future,” “monumental” and a blueprint to create “one of the world’s great urban places.”

The slides of what the neighborhood would look like in 20 years bore a certain resemblance to socialist-realist art, complete with messianic rays of sunlight streaming down to an area as tall and dense as Madison Avenue.

And guess what? It’s all coming true—sort of.

Even now that the ill-fated football stadium and Olympic bid—which were, after all, supposed to act as catalysts for the new development—have fallen by the wayside, the new neighborhood is taking shape. Some 20 projects are somewhere on the drawing board, and a few others have already broken ground.

The ones furthest along are the residential towers, since it will take until 2012 at the earliest to complete the real engine of the West Side: the extension of the No. 7 line west to 11th Avenue and south to 34th Street. Still, even office developers, energized by a bullish midtown commercial market, are publicly discussing new buildings for the district, even if only to advertise their availability to prospective tenants.

“A lot of things are happening faster than what we expected, given the state of the real-estate market, with rents just going through the roof and building prices following that trajectory,”
said James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. “It seems like the attention that will be given to the Far West Side will begin sooner than it otherwise would have.”

The plan was supposed to provide about 24 million square feet of office space (the equivalent of about nine Freedom Towers), and 12,600 new apartments, in the 45-block area from 29th Street to 42nd Street and from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River. The tax revenue from the commercial buildings would pay back the $2.1 billion borrowed to build the extension of the No. 7 subway line down 11th Avenue.

“This plan will do for New York what Canary Wharf has done for London,” said Jeff Katz, president of Sherwood Equities, which owns both commercial and residential property in the district. “In order for Manhattan to remain one of the most critically important financial centers, it needed a place to grow. We didn’t really have a place to grow before Hudson Yards was put into place.”

In contrast to Canary Wharf, which is about three miles away from London’s traditional financial district, Hudson Yards is nearly adjacent to midtown Manhattan. It remains to be seen whether the same type of star-studded architecture will take hold in the West Side’s former warehouse district as it did in London. Right now, experienced (if critically unacclaimed) architects like Costas Kondylis and Gene Kaufman have work going up. Sir Richard Rogers, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill—all of which also designed for Canary Wharf—have projects on the table.

But if the area does get developed according to plan, it will, more than any other business district in the city, have all been built from the ground up, without regard to historic preservation, in the span of a mere 30 years.

Plans have a way of biting back, however. In the two years it has taken for big-league developers to gather investors, draw up blueprints and sort through the thick regulations, nimble upstart builders have erected budget hotels on whichever parcels they found available.

In fact, on one block, just south of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, five budget hotels—called ‘pencil hotels’ because of their tall, narrow shape—have sprouted up, feeding the hunger for hotel rooms near Times Square and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Needless to say, however much the city likes its tourists, this isn’t what New Yorkers had in mind for a brave new West Side.

“This is what the market does,” said Joe Restuccia, executive director of the nonprofit Clinton Housing Development Company. “Someone comes along and says, ‘I can pay a lot of money for that site and build a cheap hotel and make a lot of money.’ Who would ever think that so many of them would cluster in this one place?”

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff told The Observer that the hotels didn’t concern him much, precisely because they are concentrated on one block on the eastern side of the site.

“If you remember the zoning, we anticipated relatively lower-scale building between Eighth Avenue and Ninth, and Ninth and 10th, and that’s where most of this development is occurring,” he said. “The area that is going to go through the biggest change is between 10th and 12th avenues.”

Residential development is, meanwhile, taking shape along two arteries: 42nd Street and 37th Street. On the far western end of 37th Street, near and along 11th Avenue, Baruch Singer—known for buying up large swaths of run-down tenements in Harlem—is planning two 40-story-plus hotels. Mr. Singer told The Observer that he is speaking with major hotel chains and planned to break ground by the end of the year.

Five of the residential developers in the area overcame a major obstacle last month when they struck preliminary agreements with the state Housing Finance Authority for tax-exempt bonds to finance their structures. The bonds require developers to set aside 20 percent of the units for low-income households, but the high demand—and limited supply—for such cheap financing had threatened to forestall the Hudson Yards development indefinitely.

“For us, 37th Street was the most civilized of the options,” said Jon McMillan, planning director for the Rockrose Development Corporation, which broke ground on one building and is nearing work on another. “It doesn’t pass by any of the Port Authority infrastructure; it has been developing with cultural and retail options, and it is where the most things have been planned so far.”

That “infrastructure” is the spaghetti of entrance and exit tunnels and ramps to the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal that dominates the northeast end of the Hudson Yards. One of the key real-estate deals to smooth out the terrain is a pair of mid-rise apartment complexes on either side of 37th Street between Ninth and 10th avenues. Called Hudson Mews North and South, the Dermot Company project will be built on a platform above the Lincoln Tunnel entrance and exit ramps—a challenge that has taken longer than expected to surmount.

“The engineering and technical details of building on that site have been worked out, and we are looking for the most cost-effective way of satisfying the Port Authority and other engineering requirements,” Dermot president William Dickey told The Observer. “This is rather a unique situation. There is no other project like this in the city or in the Port Authority system.”

Mr. Dickey said that when the Port Authority first agreed to give the air rights to the Dermot Company, the two parties had hoped that ground would be broken this summer, with December as the outside date. These days, December is looking more realistic. The cost of the air rights is one part of the negotiations.

Though residential use is supposed to dominate the northern and eastern ends of the district, office towers are supposed to be arranged in an “L” shape, north-south along 11th Avenue opposite the newly reborn Javits Center and east-west in the low 30’s. Key to the southern corridor are the Metropolitan Transportation Authority railyards, which have yet to go out to bid.

But it’s telling that two landlords are willing to discuss some details of their projects.

Brookfield Properties, which owns most of the block between 31st and 33rd streets on the west side of Ninth Avenue, is drawing up plans for four towers. Mr. Katz, the president of Sherwood, has come up with a schematic plan for his 11th Avenue parcel to show off to financial companies.

Mr. Katz said he would not start without securing an anchor tenant—which is normal practice for office buildings—but both the Sherwood and Brookfield parcels are large enough to provide the 65,000-square-foot trading floors that investment banks like J.P. Morgan Chase are now looking to build at the World Trade Center site.

There are still several balls in the air, however, that community leaders who have helped to shape the plan say could make all the difference. Next month, the M.T.A. is supposed to put the eastern and western railyards—including the former site of the Olympic stadium—up for bid. The $1.7 billion expansion of the Javits Center, which was supposed to be one of the anchors of the new development, is being re-evaluated by the administration of Governor Eliot Spitzer.

And who knows just how far along private developers and the state are toward moving Madison Square Garden a block west, ripping the lid off of the subterranean Pennsylvania Station, and constructing another five million square feet of space in the vicinity? That’s a massive amount of supply that, even according to the city’s own estimates, would suck away developers’ interest from further west.

“I’m very skeptical they are going to get the railyards plan under way, and I think if nothing happens on the railyards now, then it’s in a generation,” said Anna Levin, co-chair of the land-use subcommittee for the local community board. “If you live in New York any period of time at all, you know that it is impossible to tell what sort of development will happen.”

Originally published in The New York Observer newspaper on 4/30/2007.

NYguy Apr 25, 2007 11:41 AM

Graphic from the article...(Observer)

1) The Atelier 635 West 42nd Street
2) 605 West 42nd Street
3)River Place II 600 West 42nd Street
4) 10th Avenue and 42nd Street
5) Javits Convention Center Expansion
6) 37th Street and 11th Avenue
7) 505 West 37th Street
8) 455 West 37th treet
9) 37th Street between Ninth and 10th avenues
10) Hotel Galerie
11) 37th Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues
12) 11th Avenue, between 35th and 36th Streets
13) 11th Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets
14) 11th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets
15) 34th Street and 10th Avenue
16 & 17) 30th to 33rd streees, 11th to 12th avenues
18) Ninth Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets
19) Eighth and Ninth avenues, 31st to 33rd streets
20) 316 11th Avenue

NYguy Apr 25, 2007 7:47 PM

The Real Deal

Hudson Yards suitors ID'd

April 24, 2007

Redevelopment of the 26-acre site will cost billions. It's a huge catch, and it's no surprise that some of the city's biggest firms are taking the bait.

Five developers are currently cooking up redevelopment plans for the MTA's Hudson Yards site, according to a member of Community Board 4, which oversees the West Side area in the 30s that includes the 26-acre site. The Related Companies, Brookfield Properties, Vornado Realty Trust, Tishman Speyer and the Durst Organization are in the process of preparing bids to develop the site, according to the community board member.

A private consultant familiar with development plans for the Hudson Yards site confirmed that the five firms are all in the process of preparing bids.

Most of the firms already have significant holdings in the area. Vornado and Related have plans to develop Moynihan Station a few blocks a way, and Brookfield owns a 4.7-million-square-foot parcel between 31st and 33rd streets where it intends to construct an office complex.

The MTA will likely gain hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of its long-unused rail yards. The cost of redeveloping the yards, which run on the east and west sides of 11th Avenue from 30th to 33rd streets, is expected to run in the billions. Hudson Yards will be the single largest development in the city when it gets under way, and it is anticipated that it will include a substantial amount of housing.

While an official request for proposals from the MTA is not expected to be released for several weeks, the city and the transit authority have already prepared guidelines for the site's redevelopment that could help guide potential bidders in the planning process.

The HYDC intends to unveil the current design guidelines at a town hall meeting on May 8.

Community Board 4 has been working with the HYDC on the design guidelines via a community advisory committee. The community board is concerned that the design guidelines currently planned by the HYDC are not adequately addressing affordable housing, additional public infrastructure investment and preservation of the High Line. The northern terminus of the under-construction High Line Park is part of the Hudson Yards site, and it is being considered for demolition.

The Bloomberg administration pushed to build a stadium on the site two years ago as the centerpiece of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

By John Celock

A look at the west side yards where the 13msf development would grow:

NYguy May 21, 2007 11:11 PM

Joint Venture of Hill International, LiRo Engineers, Lemley International and HDR Receives Contract to Manage the Extension of No. 7 Subway Line in New York City

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The joint venture of Hill International, LiRo Engineers, Lemley International and HDR has received a contract from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide construction management services during extension of the No. 7 Subway Line in New York City.

The project will provide transit access to the West Side of Manhattan, including the Jacob Javits Convention Center, by extending the No. 7 Line westward from Times Square under West 41st Street and southward along Eleventh Avenue to the southerly terminus at West 25th Street. The planned extension provides 7,200 feet of tunnel to accommodate a two-track railroad with two lay-up tracks for the storage of six trains (three on each side). The extension also provides for two new stations; an intermediate station at West 41st Street and Tenth Avenue (Tenth Avenue Station) and a two-track terminal station on Eleventh Avenue at West 34th Street (34th Street Station).

The joint venture will be responsible for providing construction management services during all tunneling work and during construction of all facilities and infrastructure including track, rail systems and stations, as well as project controls services throughout the duration of the project, which is anticipated to be completed by November 2013.

About Hill International

Hill International (Nasdaq:HINT), with 1,500 employees in 70 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, and construction claims services. Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the 17th largest construction management firm in the United States. For more information on Hill, please visit our website at

About The LiRo Group

Established in 1983, The LiRo Group is currently ranked among the nation’s top 25 construction management firms (Engineering News-Record) and is one of New York’s leading engineering and construction management firms. LiRo’s 350-plus staff help design and manage the construction of some of the region’s largest and most complex public works projects. Visit our website at

About Lemley International

Lemley International has extensive experience in construction management, consulting at all levels for major construction projects and is currently collaborating with Parsons 3D/International as project managers of the historic Idaho Capitol restoration and expansion. Lemley is globally recognized for managing construction of the Channel Tunnel between England and France. For more information on Lemley International, please visit our website at

About HDR

HDR is an employee-owned architectural, engineering and construction firm with approximately 6,000 professionals in 140 locations worldwide. All of them are committed to helping clients manage complex projects and make sound decisions. HDR has 400 professionals in seven offices in the New York metropolitan area. Learn more at HDR is ranked No. 19 overall in the Engineering News-Record Top 500 design firms and No. 9 in transportation.

NYguy May 31, 2007 1:02 PM

City Is Seeking To Build a Giant Parking Lot Near the Hudson Yards

May 31, 2007

Almost two years after the city's failed attempt to build a football stadium on Manhattan's far West Side, the construction of the stadium's accompanying parking lot is moving ahead.

The city is planning to build a 950-space underground parking garage on the far West Side that is expected to cost about $125 million, a consultant for Walker Parking Consultants, Andrew Hill, said yesterday. The city is expected to issue a request for proposals soon to attract a private developer to pay for the construction, design, and management of the lot, he said.

The mammoth underground garage, which would stretch to 36th from 34th Streets between Eighth and Eleventh Avenues, was included in the original rezoning of the Hudson Yards area two years ago, and was originally planned to accommodate Jets fans who drove into the city for games at the stadium.

Community residents say they view the garage as an extravagant relic of the city's failed stadium bid, and are opposing the creation of the large garage that they say could bring more traffic to their neighborhood. Proponents of the parking garage argue that even without a football stadium, the redeveloped area would need a large garage to support an expected influx of residents and office workers to the area.

"Now that the stadium's gone, the parking lot doesn't make a whole lot of sense," the co-chair of Community Board 4's transportation committee, Christine Berthet, said. "The community is opposed to this. We support the extension of the no. 7 train line and the planning for how to bring people to the Javits Center shouldn't be for people to come by car."

The rezoned Hudson Yards, which stretches to 42nd Street from 28th Street between Eighth and Eleventh Avenues, is expected to included 24 million square feet of new office development, 13,500 new units of housing, 1 million square feet of retail space, and 2 million square feet of hotel space.

Several of the city's biggest developers, including Extell Development Company, Vornado Realty Trust in partnership with Douglas Durst, as well as Brookfield Properties and Tishman Speyer Properties, are expected to bid on a project that could cost as much as $1 billion to build platforms over the rail yards that would support residential and commercial skyscrapers. The parking lot would be just to the north of the rail yards.

The Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association is also raising a lawsuit against the city arguing that the parking garage violates the federal Clean Air Act, which set a cap of 7,000 on the number of parking spaces that could be created below 60th Street in Manhattan. The new zoning for the Hudson Yards project exceeds the federal cap, a plaintiff in the suit, Daniel Gutman, said.

A spokeswoman for the Hudson Yards Development Corporation was unavailable for comment yesterday.

NYguy Jun 19, 2007 8:34 PM

City and Extell buy property near Hudson Yards

June 8, 2007
By John Celock

The city appears to be buying up buildings next to the far West Side's Hudson Yards in order to build the Hudson Boulevard, which planners envision as an eight-block thoroughfare running from 42nd to 34th streets between 10th and 11th avenues. In a deal that recently closed, the city spent $66.1 million to buy 528 West 34th Street and a smaller adjacent building, 524 West 34th Street. Mega-developer Extell Development Company kicked in another $13.9 million to buy part of the properties, according to public records.

Extell, which is rumored to be planning a bid to develop the Yards, is also said to be eyeing development possibilities in areas near the Yards, according to J. Lee Compton, the chairman of Community Board 4. Gary Barnett, the president of Extell, did not return a call seeking comment on the purchase.

The building, a Federal Express distribution center between 10th and 11th avenues, sits on land the recently released Hudson Yards development guidelines have designated part of the Hudson Boulevard, which will run south from West 42nd Street, connecting to parks planned for the center of the new development. The planned parks in Hudson Yards, meanwhile, will connect to the existing Hudson River Park that runs parallel to the West Side Highway. In 2004, the city planned to seize the property via eminent domain in order to make way for the No. 7 train line extension, according to reports.

According to Compton, the city has been acquiring buildings on the planned boulevard via eminent domain for the past 18 months. Public records show the purchase of 528 West 38th Street is registered to the city's Law Department, which oversees eminent domain proceedings. Lisa Bova-Hiatt, the deputy chief in charge of condemnation in the Tax & Bankruptcy Litigation Division at the Law Department--who represents the city on the purchase of property via eminent domain--was unavailable for comment.

The boulevard was originally conceived as an entrance to the stadium the Bloomberg administration wanted to build on the 26-acre Hudson Yards site two years ago. The city failed to win public support for the planned stadium.

In July 2005, Community Board 4 sent a letter to the city's Law Department stating that they were against the plan to use eminent domain to obtain properties for Hudson Boulevard. The letter also stated that with the stadium no longer on the table, that the board found the boulevard to be unnecessary.

"Once the stadium went away, the city did not see a need to eliminate this useless boulevard," Compton said. "It takes up an awful lot of space for not much, and it's a strange thing to be doing."

Compton noted that the community board has been fighting for the city to pay the property owners a competitive rate as they condemn the buildings for the construction of the boulevard.

The Hudson Yards development guidelines call for the 26-acre site to hold both residential and commercial buildings, topping off as high as 50 stories. The plan has generated recent controversy over the amount of affordable housing that will be offered on the site, the need for the construction of infrastructure to support an influx of residents, and the preservation of the High Line along the Yards' southern border.

The MTA originally promised to release the request for proposals to develop the Yards by the end of May. An MTA spokesman now says the RFP will be released soon, but did not give a firm timetable for the release. The delay in releasing the RFP calls into question the MTA's May statement that review of bids would begin in the early fall. While the RFP has not been released, several developers are reportedly preparing bids for the site, which the MTA expects will sell for around $1 billion.

NYguy Jun 29, 2007 12:27 PM

Last dance at the Copa
City rolls a 7 & hot spot's 3rd version to fold

Desi Arnaz and wife Lucille Ball dine in 1946 at club's E.60th St. incarnation.

June 29th 2007

The storied Copacabana will close its doors tomorrow night - forced out of its plush West Side digs by the city to make room for the No. 7 subway line extension.

"It's like you're being evicted from your apartment with no place to live," said club owner John Juliano. "They just come over and throw you out."

The three-floor, 50,000-square-foot building at 34th St. and 10th Ave. will be razed to make way for a new subway terminal.

"We gotta have a Copacabana," Juliano said as he contemplated the ornate white palm trees and crimson seashell carpet in the club's main room. "I'll pass it down to my children and my grandchildren."

Many notables have passed through the Copa since it moved to its West Side address five years ago - after spending some 10 years at W. 57th St., and about 50 years at its original home on E. 60th. St., where it opened in 1941.

Juliano recalled the time former President Bill Clinton took to the stage in the main room last year and told the crowd that he'd rather play sax at the club than be out on the campaign trail.

And the time several months ago when Marc Anthony leaped onto the stage for a surprise performance when he and wife Jennifer Lopez came to see Johnny Pacheco. "That was fun," Juliano said, beaming.

The club owner said he hasn't yet found a new facility to house the Copa, which was the inspiration for Barry Manilow's 1978 hit song "Copacabana."

Juliano said he's hoping to be in a new home by the end of the year and has been eyeing potential properties with more than 30,000 square feet in Manhattan and the Bronx.

"We'll find another spot, and people will follow us," he said. "We have the biggest nightclub name in the world."

Latin megagroup El Gran Combo is slated to be the final act tomorrow. Juliano said he will host Copa acts several nights a week at his upper West Side club, Columbus 72.

"It will be sad," said Claudia Olivares, 29, assistant to the general manager at the club. "We've felt like this for a few months now. It's a sad countdown for us."


Sunday, July 1 is the last chance to dance at NYC's legendary nightclub, the Copacabana. In January, owners announced that the club would have to move by July 1 to make room for an expansion of the 7 subway line.

This is not the first time the nightclub has changed locations. This 1946 photo shows doorman Harry Schwartz in front of the original location at 10 East 60th Street.

... then-Vice President and Mrs. Richard Nixon in 1954 ...

In 1999, Jose Alberto performed for Salsa Night at the Copacabana's second location: 617 West 57th Street.

Tito Puente also came to the West 57th St. location, for the 1999 Suited For Success (Welfare to Work Initiative) benefit.

NYguy Aug 29, 2007 10:43 PM

Saving It: Bruce Fowle, Principal of FXFowle @ ICFF 2007

August 15, 2007

Bruce Fowle: FXFowle is part of the team that is expanding the Javits Center. It’s an ongoing process that we’ve been involved with for a year and a half. There are budgetary situations and we’ve had a change of governor in Albany so we’re going through a lot of reevaluation. But I can tell you what the goals are and what we are hoping to do insofar as making the building as sustainable as possible.

When the request for proposals came out for this project they were clearly looking for people with a lot of convention experience, a superstar on the international level, and a lot of know how. We formulated a team, starting with Epstein Group out of Chicago who had done the McCormick Center and then decided that we should invite Richard Rogers, who is a particularly green, socially conscious architect, to join us. We also have Flack + Kurtz as the engineers, Leslie Roberts and Associates as the structural engineers, Ken Smith is doing the landscaping and we have VJ Associates doing the cost estimating. We won the job.

FXFowle has been pioneering green architecture since 1995 when we started the Condé Nast Building, which was the first green skyscraper in the country. It is still one of the most talked about green skyscrapers. A disappointment for all of us was how long it took for the marketplace to catch on and start doing this as a matter of course, but it is finally happening here in New York.

A few other projects we’re working on right now include a building for a software company out of Philadelphia called SAP that is going for platinum-rating. We did the preliminary design work for the Second Avenue subway and that is also going to be very green. Just how much gets into the final budget is hard to say at this point. But we thoroughly analyzed all green aspects of that project. The Helena is the first voluntarily green high-rise residential building, certainly in New York, maybe in the country at this scale and it is gold rated. The school of management for Syracuse University, is not LEED rated but has many green features to it. We do a lot of planning work which is transportation oriented, primarily in trying to make planning as green as possible. There is another subway project out in Queens with photovoltaics. And then there’s a new project for the Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo.

You’ve all experienced the entrance sequence at the Javits Center where you have to get here by taking a taxi or a bus. It’s not very convenient and has a lot of disadvantages. The Javits Center was designed ahead of its time, which is to say, it’s an all-glass building but the glass performance was not as great as it could be today, so it’s very dark. The service access is limited and very poor. It’s actually the eighteenth largest convention center in the country. For New York to be that far down the totem pole for convention center size is not a good thing. That is the main impetus to try to enlarge it.

There are some wonderful views of the river from the building and from the river of the building, but unfortunately it’s very hard to get those. There are only a couple of places in the building where you can actually enjoy the view. We’re trying to establish more synergy between the waterfront and the convention center.

There is a lot of sky lighting in the entry part but when you get down into the main exhibition halls there’s absolutely no daylight. This is an industry problem because the industry is not excited about natural light, although some of the new convention centers in Boston and Pittsburgh actually do use a lot of natural light. You can always put shades to black it out when necessary.

The space we’re in now has a very low ceiling space by convention center standards. When you get upstairs with the loftier spaces it’s much higher. The most successful part of the Javits Center is probably the main entrance hall. The problem is that about 50 percent of the energy that goes into this building is in the lighting and it’s not necessarily the base building lighting but all the exhibition lighting. The lighting provided by the decorators in the industry and the lighting used my most exhibitors is very high-energy consuming. Half the energy goes into lighting. The other half is in heating and cooling.

Take a look at the existing area photograph. You can see where the highway runs across and where the Hudson River Park is being expanded. There are a number of issues in terms of urban design that we are faced with here. All of these streets are blocked. There’s been a lot of pressure to put the convention center over the rail yards.

Instead of being the black opaque façade that you see from all angles, we’re trying to enliven and animate the Javits Center. We want to bring vitality to the street and make Eleventh Avenue an important and vibrant thruway. In the master plan approved by the city a couple years ago, there is a plan to put a green swath through here. There will be all new high-rise development on both sides of the avenue. The master plan for the rail yards has just been released. It will include a major cultural center and high-rise development, as well as a lot of open land for park space.

The original idea was that we would expand the Javits Center to the north from 38th Street to 40th Street. There’s a big bus garage there which is very difficult to relocate because we have to have a bus garage somewhere. It’s a “not in my backyard” issue and there’s very little opportunity to change that. Some other buildings are in demolition right now. The idea was to create some parks and try to convert the area into residential and commercial buildings that will provide some equity for the development corporation as well as to enhance the 34th Street corridor.

Trucks are a major problem. There’s a staging area for trucks that come in from all over the country. Those that don’t fit end up parked out on these streets, sometimes idling all night long. The drivers will sleep in the trucks. For an area that’s trying to be developed as a major new center of commerce in the city, it’s just not good. So one of the programmatic issues we’re dealing with is to try to get the trucks off the street and provide a truck marshalling area.

We’re also proposing a new hotel and all these sites will eventually become high-rise buildings contributing to a very high-density area.

The original idea was to add about 360,000 square feet of exhibition space and about 200,000 square feet of meeting room space, which would bring the total exhibition space up to about a million square feet. That puts us in the big-time. One of the problems we have right now in the convention center is that the percentage of meeting room area to the exhibition hall is very small. It needs to be about 30 percent.

We’re trying to create open land, which is a mandate from the city. It’s also part of the environmental impact statement. There’s a new number 7 line subway that’s going to start here which is an essential part of this project. You will be able to take the subway here and not have to take a bus or a cab. When you leave tonight you’re going to find it’s not always easy to get a cab because it’s just not an area where the cabs hang out.

If you look at the proposed façade, you can see the magnitude of the expansion. It’s about two million square feet of expansion over all. The problem is that because of funding and programmatic needs, and the huge escalation of costs, we are now reevaluating all of this. We’re focused on adding something entirely new on the north end. Part of the problem is we have to maintain the existing facility. Every square foot that’s here now has to be operational through the construction period. We can relocate to new construction but we have to do it in phases and with a 10 percent escalation every year.

We also have a problem with Local Law 86, which is the new green mandate for city-funded projects. They have requirements that are different from the state, which are called Executive Order 111. We’re trying to sort out who controls what aspects and which one we have to follow because this is both a state and a city project.

We have to deal with the condition of the existing building. The roof leaks like a sieve. Mechanical systems are terrible and antiquated. Whether we deal with the existing basis on a permanent basis or a temporary basis is all very much in question. Convention industry standards, their lighting standards for example, are basically nonexistent in terms of being sustainable.

We are aiming for LEED Silver. We believe it’s all possible but in the current state of flux it’s very difficult to get a grip on exactly where we’re going to get these points. Energy is the primary issue. The system is extremely poor as it exists today. By centralizing the system, we expect to reduce the existing energy consumption by about 60 to 65 percent, which is good. That’s primarily with a central system of high-efficiency boilers and chillers, heat transfer mechanisms, premium efficient motors, variable flow, and high-efficiency at reduced capacity.

If we can get the lighting industry, or the exhibition industry, to take it to the next step, we can be saving a lot more energy. We are also providing for future photovoltaics. There’s just no way under the current budget situation that we could imagine actually installing photovoltaics at the moment. I think we’re all waiting for that technology to make itself more profitable, with a shorter payback. The idea is to provide a roofscape that can handle a significant amount of photovoltaic cells.

We had looked at ice storage, we had looked at geo-thermal, at least. a lot of these systems just don’t pay off because the system is either too big or because they buy energy at a different scale. It’s not like you or I would buy it for our house, they buy it at a large package rate. Saving energy to make thermal storage at night, for example, does not really save energy, but it saves cost normally. It is not really effective in this case.

We know that we can make the exterior more efficient by replacing the glass as it is right now. But we also know that the existing mullion system is not thermally broken and it’s not going to be that much better if we can change that glass when we have all of the metal radiating through. We’re still working on that, and we’re talking about external canopies for the glass, screen walls and so forth.

Susan S. Szensasy, editor in chief, Metropolis: It’s interesting to see the retrofit, not just the addition. When you look at this building, it is in hopeless shape; coming at it in certain angles, that film is peeling, and then the inefficiency must be tremendous. The mayor has this incredible NYC 2030 plan, which asks to bring buildings up to high performance standards. Is the Javits Center going to be one of those that retrofits? Will it become an example for the city to think about how our building stock can be updated and can be more energy efficient?

Fowle: We hope so. The 2030 plan which Susan refers to is Mayor Bloomberg’s new proposal. It’s got 127 initiatives. It’s really wonderfully worked out and includes aspects like how close anybody in the city should be to a park, how close you should be to a school, how close where you work or live is to public transportation, and so forth. I think the number 7 subway line expansion is a major step. Adding the green space will be a major step. And the proximity of the river of course, and adding some permeability between the city and the river is very important. We wish we could do more of that.

As far as the existing building is concerned, we have yet to determine whether this is going to mean starting a new building with the ultimate plan to demolish the existing one, or to rebuild it, or whether we do a sort of stopgap solution, so it’s difficult to say. If it’s a stopgap solution, we have to convince the public that that’s what it is and that ultimately this will be a green, very much in keeping with the 2030 plan.

Szenasy: You have a dynamite team in place—FXFowle, Richard Rogers, Ken Smith—and all of the people that you gathered are incredibly skilled in these areas. Is there a plan for that team to figure out an education program for the people who run the convention center? To make sure that the lighting begins to be energy efficient and that they don’t put something really offensive in there? You’ve designed this amazing skin and you’ve retrofitted, you’ve created this new world, and then if they don’t do the right thing they’ll still be losing 50 percent of the energy in the lighting.

Fowle: I can’t say there’s a plan but there is the desire. The problem is that there is a whole industry that takes care of convention centers all around the country. They’re the people who get your convention center set up. Frankly their interest does not appear to be making things greener. Their margins are very tight. They’re more concerned with issues like how fast they can get in and out of the convention center, where their people stay, where the trucks sit, and how accessible all of their supplies are. They supply the panels, lighting, the hook up, the booths, etc. We are once removed from that because our client is what’s called the Convention Center Development Corporation, which is a branch of the Empire State Development Corporation. And then the convention center operations group is really another group and we are trying to create a synergy between the two. The people who do the set up work are once removed from them, so it’s really difficult for us to get to them. The ultimate goal would be to write guidelines and set standards that people can try to aspire to and really try to change the industry.

Szenasy: I do hope that happens because what we’re seeing right now is that the architects and the engineers come up with these great systems and then the users override the systems. It’s been really difficult for the past few years. People are used to a certain amount of light and if they’re not educated enough in what you’re trying to do they’re going to override you and then you’ve done all this great design for nothing.

Fowle: Yes, I think creating awareness within an industry is probably the first thing that needs to be done. I think they probably don’t realize that their lighting is consuming half the energy of the entire building.

Szenasy: I didn’t realize that. That’s huge.

NYguy Aug 29, 2007 10:47 PM

Images from the story

“This was the last image we pulled together as an architectural team for a typical section of the front of the building. I can’t promise that it’s going to look like this at all, but you can see the kind of saw-toothed roof which would have photovoltaics on the lower-angle pieces facing south and natural light coming in to the meeting rooms, probably two levels of meeting rooms on the top that will filter the light through, but not likely to bring it all the way down into the exhibition spaces. The landscaping in the foreground is just an idea of how we can create something that’s soft, something that’s very welcoming and sort of enhancing the whole human experience as you come to the convention center.” —Bruce Fowle

The existing Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

Left: proposed site plan; right: existing site plan

Proposed site plan

Proposed elevation

NYguy Sep 11, 2007 12:15 PM


September 11, 2007

The extension of the No. 7 subway line will boast twice as many doors to stand clear of. Officials said that as part of the $2.1 billion project extending the line from Times Square to the Javits Center, the new station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue will feature platform-edge doors.

The glass doors will separate the platform from the tracks and line up with the doors of the trains.

Used on rail systems around the world, including the AirTrain at JFK Airport, they guard against passengers plunging off the platform and make it easier to control the climate in the station.

The station would be a test of the technology, which could one day be implemented on the planned Second Avenue line.

It likely would not be feasible or cost effective to install the doors along existing lines, officials said.

The No. 7 line extension is scheduled to be completed in 2013, roughly the same time as the first segment of the Second Avenue line.

Mr Man Sep 16, 2007 11:45 PM

I'm suprised and pleased with the huge amount of developments in New York: West Side Access, Second Avenue Subway, Downtown Brooklyn, and now the Hudson Yards.

dallasbrink Oct 2, 2007 10:48 PM

So since the jets are staying in the meadow lands, is this project still going forward?

NYguy Oct 7, 2007 12:15 AM


Originally Posted by dallasbrink (Post 3088809)
So since the jets are staying in the meadow lands, is this project still going forward?

This isn't a JETS development.

NYguy Nov 5, 2007 12:30 PM

West Side residents vs. Bloomberg over rezoning plan

November 5th 2007

Bloomberg has called the West Side "the next Gold Coast" - but critics wonder why the anti-congestion mayor wants to pack it with as many as 20,000 more parking spaces.

Local residents are suing to block Bloomberg's rezoning plan for the area because of the extra parking, and environmental and transportation groups also call it bad policy.

"It sounds to me like the development people are not talking to the environmental people at City Hall," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), who represents the area. "It would encourage more people to drive cars into the central business district. If you build off-street parking, they will come."

Bloomberg this spring unveiled a long-term strategy to keep New York from choking on traffic by charging cars $8 to enter Manhattan below 86th St. But he has also pushed an effort to rezone the far West Side region known as Hudson Yards for new high-rises - and garages.

Most of Manhattan is covered by tight parking restrictions to discourage cars and reduce air pollution, but the Hudson Yards rezoning sought to lift those limits to allow an extra 20,000 parking spaces, said Kyle Wiswall, general counsel for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

"It seems kind of quizzical why they're still pursuing more parking there," Wiswall told the Daily News. "The last thing it needs is more traffic."

The Bloomberg administration says it hopes most workers and residents will rely on mass transit to get there.

"The recent rezoning of Hudson Yards, which was done concurrently with the approval of the expansion of the No. 7 subway, will promote the emergence of a new public-transportation-oriented residential and commercial community with considerable affordable housing and public green space," said mayoral spokesman John Gallagher.

In a speech to the Manhattan Institute last week, Bloomberg said extending the 7 train to Hudson yards will make it "the next Gold Coast of this city."

Gottfried, though, said more parking will create more congestion. "If increased development is going to be accompanied by increased automobile traffic, it will strangle itself," he said.

State environmental regulators had not objected to the rezoning until critics complained in August. Now state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis has ordered the city to study how parking limits affect air pollution.

"We've been at hearing after hearing," said Christine Berthet of the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association, which has sued to block the rezoning. "Why is the plan still there?"

Chicago2020 Nov 5, 2007 6:56 PM

That first rendering on page one is absolutly...WOW WOW

NYGUY, what was the city's reaction towards the first proposal with the Jets Stadium???

NYguy Nov 6, 2007 11:36 PM


Originally Posted by Chicago2020 (Post 3147512)
NYGUY, what was the city's reaction towards the first proposal with the Jets Stadium???

The city was behind the push for the proposed Jets Stadium. It was already approved,with contributions of $300 million from both the city and state to help pay for the $2 billion stadium. However, the state's contribution of $300 million was blocked, leading the Jets (who were already planning to spend wll over $1 billion) to find a less costly alternative by partnering with the Giants in the meadowlands.

Picking up the pieces from that, the MTA has now put the railyards out to bid again, which 5 bids have been received for.

NYguy Mar 26, 2008 4:19 PM


PARK-ING PLACE:The city's Hudson Yards project includes a pedestrian bridge

a park with a playground

March 24, 2008

The city's long-sought plan to transform the Far West Side into a new commercial and residential district takes a step forward today, with the launch of a search for firms interested in designing a park and boulevard at the heart of the project.

The boulevard and park are key parts of the Hudson Yards plan proposed by the Bloomberg administration, which has detailed what it would like to see built in newly released sketches.

The boulevard and park will run north-south between 10th and 11th avenues, eventually stretching from 33rd Street to 39th Street.

"As the city grows it becomes increasingly difficult to create significant new open space. However, this park and boulevard will provide dynamic new green space for residents, workers and visitors in the Hudson Yards neighborhood, an area that is woefully lacking in open space today," said Ann Weisbrod, president of the Hudson Yards Development Corp.

A master plan calls for an estimated 24 million square feet of new office space - more than double what's being planned at the World Trade Center - to be built in the district by 2032.

The first phase, from 33rd to 36th Street is expected to be complete in 2012. The city has acquired all of the buildings in that three-block section of the boulevard's path.

Plans call for a 30-foot-wide, tree-lined boulevard and a four-acre park.

Funding for the project is coming out of the $3 billion in bonds the city is selling to pay for an extension of the No. 7 subway line to 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

NYguy Sep 23, 2008 12:15 PM

Redevelopment of Manhattan's far west side begins to take shape...

BIG IDEAS: Proposals for the new West Side boulevard include Work Architecture's fanciful hills

September 22, 2008

Here's the first look at designs for a spectacular new boulevard and park planned for Manhattan's far West Side, where Mayor Bloomberg wants to build a new business district more than twice the size of the World Trade Center complex.

From fanciful images of hills, trails and plantings to a park filled with enormous evergreen trees and rock outcrops, the proposals from five teams of architects vying to design the park and boulevard will go before the public beginning today.

The project, part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment, will create four acres of park space down the middle of a boulevard stretching from 33rd to 42nd Streets, between 10th and 11th Avenues, and linking up with a massive new office and residential project planned for the West Side rail yard just to the south of the new avenue.

"We are thrilled by the quality of the designs," said Ann Weisbrod, president of the Hudson Yards Development Corp., which is overseeing construction of the project and the financing of an extension of the No. 7 subway line to a new station at 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

The winning design will be selected in early October, Weisbrod said. Construction of the first phase of the project, from 33rd to 36th streets, is expected be completed at the same time as the subway extension in 2013.

The now low-rise neighborhood was rezoned by the City Council several years ago to allow for up to 24 million square feet of office space and 13,500 new units of housing, along with hotels and retail development.

The entire project - construction of the subway, boulevard, plaza and other infrastructure work - is being paid for with $3 billion in bonds.

"This is the extension of Midtown, the preeminent business district in the world," said Weisbrod.

The designs will be on public display at the Center for Architecture, at 536 La Guardia Place, from Sept. 25 through the end of October.

Hargreaves Associates' curled overpass .

Gustafson Team: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd/Allied Works Architecture Inc/PB Americas Inc.

Hargreaves Team: Hargreaves Associates, Ten Arquitectos, James Carpenter Design

Michael Van Valkenburgh Team: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., Landscape Architects

West Infinity Team: West Infinity


New boulevard and park location:

NYguy Oct 16, 2008 4:02 PM

Five Designs for Hudson Park Revealed

October 8, 2008
By Tim McKeough

Five teams competing to design a new park for Manhattan’s West Side recently unveiled their proposals. Led by the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, the Hudson Park and Boulevard project will cover 4 acres stretching from West 33rd to West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues—an area presently occupied by a hodgepodge of buildings, rail lines, and roads leading to the Lincoln Tunnel. To the south, the park would connect to the Hudson Rail Yards, a 26-acre mixed-use development that calls for office towers, residential buildings, stores, and parks to be built on a massive platform over existing train tracks. Both projects are part of an initiative to transform an uninviting, semi-industrial area into a popular live-work-play destination.

A selection committee, whose members come from the Hudson Yards Development Corporation and numerous city departments,
plans to announce a winner in late October, and Phase 1 of the project, running between West 33rd and West 36th Streets, is expected to be completed by 2013. The proposals are on view at New York’s Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, through the end of October.

A team led by Work Architecture Company and Balmori Associates envisions a “Wild West Side,” where “Times Square meets Central Park,” says Work principal Dan Wood, AIA. The plan calls for undulating, grassy hills with space for cafes and other facilities underneath. Other features include urban gardens, a new animal habitat, and water collection systems that double as park furniture.

A proposal from West 8, Mathews Nielsen, and Weisz + Yoes envisions a “primordial landscape,” with hills being constructed using schist excavated at nearby construction sites, says West 8 principal Jerry van Eyck. Features include a skateboard park, an art park, and a children’s activity area, as well as a kinked bridge that would bring pedestrians above roads leading to the Lincoln Tunnel and deliver them to West 42nd Street.

A team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Toshiko Mori took inspiration from Manhattan’s Union Square but rearranged the formal plan “into a kind of carpet,” explains MVVA principal Matthew Urbanski. Benches, plantings, and paved circulation routes similar to those in Union Square would be arranged in a more freeform scheme. Overhead lighting strung between buildings would illuminate the park, and an S-curve bridge with curled edges would bypass tunnel traffic.

A plan from Hargreaves Associates and TEN Arquitectos calls for “ecological rooms,” from chestnut tree forests to pine barrens, describes Hargreaves principal Ken Haines. James Carpenter-designed light wands installed throughout the park would capture and redistribute sunlight. The scheme’s signature feature is a pedestrian bridge edged by a ribbon of grass that curls like a rollercoaster loop over the walkway.

NYguy Nov 3, 2008 11:28 PM

Related's West Side Rail Yards Deal Faces Delay

by Eliot Brown
November 3, 2008

The deal to put $15 billion in residential and commercial development atop the M.T.A.'s West Side rail yards has hit a delay, as the agency will not sign a contract with developer Related Companies this week, as was originally scheduled. The state authority says it has reached an agreement with Related (which is in a joint venture with Goldman Sachs) to push back the deadline for signing a contract for the property by another 90 days, as the M.T.A. has been slower than expected in producing the needed paperwork.

"We have together agreed on an extension of the designation period," said Gary Dellaverson, the CFO of the M.T.A. (who has to have one of the least enviable jobs in government these days). "Our expectation was that the documents would have been turned a month and a half ago.

"This is my fault—the fault of the M.T.A.," he said. "This is not a product of either Related or Goldman or their lawyers."

The M.T.A. named Related the conditionally designated developer back in May, when Related beat out other developers, offering to pay over $1 billion for the rights to develop the 26-acre West Side site. At the time, the agency gave itself and Related 165 days to sign a contract, according to details of the agreement provided to the M.T.A. board at the time, a window that would have expired today. But the agency has been slow to create the contract, a fact it says is due in part to the collapse of the credit markets. The M.T.A.'s attorneys for the deal, Paul, Weiss, have had much work related to the financial crisis and have been slower than expected in finishing their work, Mr. Dellaverson said. As a result, the first draft of the contract and other documents have not yet been provided to Related.

The contract is an important, but not final, step in the solidification of the deal with Related, which would need to be closed some months after going to contract. The M.T.A. originally envisioned closing on the eastern half of the rail yards four months after signing the contract, while a closing on the western half would wait until after it has gone through the rezoning process, an approval targeted to come in late 2009.

The M.T.A. first selected Tishman Speyer to develop the yards in March, though the deal fell apart a month later when the firm tried to change the deal's terms. While the negotiations over the contract have yet to occur, Mr. Dellaverson said he is not worried that the financial crisis will push Related to back out of the agreement.

"I don't have any indication, and they haven't brought anything to me that would indicate slowness or desire to delay on their part," he said. "Everything that I've seen, is they're continuing to operate in good faith and pursuant to a desire to consummate the transaction."

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 3:31 AM

This thread should be moved to either the Supertall / skyscraper proposals thread, or should be split between the skyscraper portion and the parkland / open space portion.

NYguy Nov 4, 2008 1:01 PM


Originally Posted by NYC4Life (Post 3890146)
This thread should be moved to either the Supertall / skyscraper proposals thread, or should be split between the skyscraper portion and the parkland / open space portion.

This is the Hudson Yards redevelopment thread. We did have a railyard thread, but that one was lost. This thread encompasses everything Hudson Yards related, from the boulevard, the parks, the convention center, the railyards as well.

NYguy Nov 4, 2008 1:04 PM

A summary of the redevelopment.

NYguy Dec 1, 2008 10:23 PM

An update on the eastern railyards will be presented tonight...

Show your support for the High Line at this public forum hosted by Manhattan Community Board 4 and the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee.

The Related Companies, the developer for the site, will present its revised plan for the Eastern Rail Yards, which includes a significant portion of the High Line, including the 10th Avenue Spur. The developer is requesting amendments to the underlying zoning for the site, which will require public review and approval by the City Council.

The proposed zoning amendments do not address preservation of the High Line. In fact, the High Line is not even officially on the agenda for the December 1 presentation. Which is why we need your support NOW.

This is our one chance in the public review process for the Eastern Rail Yards to speak out for full preservation of the High Line, including the 10th Avenue Spur.

From the beginning of the rail yards planning process, the public has been calling for preservation of the High Line, but the High Line is still not protected and remains at risk of demolition. This is our chance to let the City, Governor Paterson, the MTA, and the developers know that it is not acceptable to let the fate of the High Line continue to hang in the balance, and that preservation of the High Line needs to be guaranteed now.

Come to the December 1 public forum and let your voice be heard.
**Free Save the Spur t-shirts and buttons for all supporters who attend.**

Monday, December 1, 2008
6:30 - 8:30 PM (doors open at 6:00)
Red Cross, 520 West 49th Street
Rooms A and B

NYguy Dec 3, 2008 1:31 AM

City (Probably) Taps Van Valkenburgh for West Side Park

by Eliot Brown
December 2, 2008

It seems the Bloomberg administration has chosen landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to build a new West Side park, though there’s no official word yet from the city.

Last night at a forum on the West Side rail yards, both Vishaan Chakrabarti, an executive at the Related Companies who is leading the firm’s development of the yards, and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried referred to Van Valkenburgh as the winner of a design competition for a mid-block park and boulevard. The park is planned to run between 10th and 11th avenues, from 33rd Street to 42nd Street (though only the first segment, from 33rd Street to 36th Street, is funded).

The city’s Hudson Yards Development Corporation declined to comment.

Assuming the news is true (we’d also heard chatter of the same news before last night), the selection of Van Valkenburgh would presumably connect well with Related’s planned $15 billion West Side rail yards development as it is also the landscape architect there.

Michael Van Valkenburgh is doing quite a bit of business these days in the city. The firm does work on Hudson River Park; it’s designing Brooklyn Bridge Park; and it planned the redesign of the northern end of Union Square Park, currently under construction.

Last night's forum, nominally devoted to zoning text amendments for the eastern half of the rail yards, focused mainly on Related’s potential move to tear down a “spur” off the High Line, the railway viaduct-turned-parkland that runs through the rail yards. The spur runs east from the High Line along 30th Street, crossing 10th Avenue.

Most of the dozens of attendees indicated they supported saving the spur, as did two elected officials in attendance, Representative Jerry Nadler and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried. Related has indicated it is concerned about the size and potential economic impact of the structure. The founders of the High Line effort, Friends of the High Line, are pushing Related hard to retain the spur and to move two planned buildings on the western edge of the site away from the High Line (Related revealed images last night showing that one of those buildings had been moved.)

NYguy Dec 8, 2008 11:17 PM

Demo contracts near for Hudson Yards park

545 West 34th Street

By Adam Pincus

The city is moving forward with demolition to clear the way for a new four-acre park and boulevard as well as the entrance for the new terminal station for the No. 7 train for the massive Hudson Yards redevelopment project on Manhattan's West Side.

The city is expected to award its first contracts this week to raze two buildings on two large parcels spanning from 34th to 36th streets, and 10th to 11th avenues, which will become part of the new Hudson Boulevard and park.

And a block to the south, the city is seeking bids that are due Friday for the demolition of the former FedEx World Service Center building at 528-556 West 34th Street, to make way for the entrance to the No. 7 train on 33rd Street.

The buildings will be brought down in what many fear will be the worst economic recession in decades, leading critics to wonder who is going to build and occupy the massive skyscrapers envisioned for the Hudson Yards district or whether the structures will come down but nothing will rise in their places, a waste of functional buildings.

Hudson Boulevard and the park comprise a mid-block open space that is planned to run from 33rd to 39th streets between 10th and 11th avenues, and be lined with large office and residential towers. The first phase of the park and boulevard, from 33rd to 36th streets, is slated to be completed in 2013. A design team is expected to be named in the next several weeks, city officials said.

The city-led Hudson Yards Development Corporation is overseeing the long-term project to redevelop the West Side.

The two large parcels that will make up the park and boulevard are now mostly occupied by buildings but also include vacant land.

The three buildings that are coming down are a six-story, red brick residential building at 545 West 34th Street, and a seven-story commercial building at 524-542 West 36th Street, both between 10th and 11th avenues, in addition to the FedEx building.

Joe Restuccia, executive director of the West Side advocacy group Clinton Housing Development Company, which helped tenants from 545 West 34th Street find new apartments, said the weak private development market would likely assure that the land remained empty for years.

"Do you believe there is a speculative office building that will be built on the West Side?" he said. "My real concern is the land will be vacant for quite some time and there won't be any improvement in the area."

David Farber, vice president and general counsel at the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, wrote in an email: "The park and boulevard remain on schedule to be completed in 2013, and therefore we must go ahead with that demolition work."

Five demolition bids have been received for the two park and boulevard parcels, which are expected to cost approximately $6 million to $8.5 million each, said a spokesperson for the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which is handling the demolition contracts.

The bids were closed October 24 and the city had 45 days to select a contractor, the HPD spokesperson said. The city may choose a contractor after the 45-day period, but the winning company is no longer bound by its bid.

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