Hudson Yards on Track to Open Most Properties By 2019

An ariel view of the emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood. Photo courtesy Geoff Butler.

BY WINNIE McCROY | Rising out of a landscape that once boasted little more than bus parking and filling stations, the 28-acre Hudson Yards is already taking shape as the nation’s largest private real estate development. More than eight million square feet of commercial, residential, and mixed-use space are currently under construction or completed, with 88 percent of commercial property already committed. The retail space, set to open next year, is already 60 percent leased. And Related Companies just announced that Hudson Yards will now offer 25 restaurant and food concepts, including a 35,000-square-foot Spanish food hall.

Home to the anchor tenant, Coach Inc., the 1.8 million-square-foot property at 10 Hudson Yards opened its doors in May 2016, housing L’Oréal USA, The Boston Consulting Group, German software engineering firm SAP, VaynerMedia, and Intersection, which is owned by Sidewalk Labs. The new No. 7 subway station opened in September 2015 adjacent to Hudson Yards, shuttling workers and visitors to the west side of Manhattan.

“Hudson Yards is the most ambitious development ever undertaken in the country and positions New York City for continued global leadership. Coach has been our partner since the very beginning,” said Stephen M. Ross, Chairman and Founder of Related Companies, last May. “Hudson Yards is destined to become the new heart of New York and it is well on its way to realizing that vision.”

THE SHOPS & RESTAURANTS | Next to 10 Hudson Yards is the retail area, The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards, set to open in the fall of 2018. It comprises more than a mile of shopping opportunities, and is anchored by retail outlets including Neiman Marcus, who announced they would open their first New York City store at Hudson Yards.

“Hudson Yards presents the ideal location for a Neiman Marcus store. The project is a bold and innovative retail idea and one that complements how we view our Neiman Marcus Brand,” said Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus Group. “Neiman Marcus Group is well-known to New York and New Yorkers through our landmark Bergdorf Goodman store — a beloved and revered New York institution at the corner of Fifth and 58th, and we are excited to establish a store in one of the world’s premier shopping destinations. We look forward to serving New Yorkers and visitors to New York with legendary Neiman Marcus style.”

Other retailers include Banana Republic, Aritzia, Athleta, Tory Burch, NYX, Zara, Stuart Weitzman, H&M, AG, Origins, The Body Shop, Kiehl’s, Jo Malone, and MAC. Related just announced that diners will be able to choose from a wide variety of cuisines, including Chef Thomas Keller’s classic American restaurant, a new concept from David Chang’s Momofuku, Chef Costas Spiliadis’ Greek seafood restaurant Estiatorio Milos, a modern brasserie concept from D&D London, and an American Grill concept from Chef Michael Lomonaco.

And, in an exciting joint venture with Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup will debut a unique new concept nestled under the High Line — a sprawling 35,000-square-foot space, akin to a Spanish-style Eataly.

A rendering of Spanish Culinary Experience Under the High Line (with Vessel in the background, to the left). Image courtesy Related-Oxford.

By 2019, the first US restaurant from Juan Santa Cruz’ Santa Cruz Co. will join the collection and anchor 35 Hudson Yards, home to residences and the inaugural Equinox Hotel. Additional eateries will be unveiled throughout the coming year.

Additional restaurants are planned for 35 Hudson Yards and 50 Hudson Yards, and other cafés and fast-casual offerings will be located at 55 Hudson Yards, 50 Hudson Yards, 10 Hudson Yards and the pavilion in the Public Square and Gardens. The collection includes signature restaurants, as well as eateries and quick service locations including Bouchon Bakery and Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee.

These concepts will range in size from 350 sq. ft. to 16,000 sq. ft., and offer a variety of cuisines and experiences morning to night throughout the new neighborhood. Several restaurants will offer outdoor dining. Co-curated by Chef Keller and restaurateur Kenneth A. Himmel, the full collection will establish Hudson Yards as a global culinary destination.

“Exceptional dining experiences are extremely important in curating not only the restaurant collection, but the new neighborhood we are creating, and we are thrilled with the caliber of chefs and restaurateurs that will be coming to Hudson Yards. These chefs and restaurateurs represent the most creative and visionary leaders both in this industry and around the world,” said Himmel, who is also President of Related Urban, the mixed-use division of Related Companies. “Our approach went well beyond just selecting the best chefs and restaurateurs; we wanted to ensure we offered a diverse array of global cuisine and experiences that catered to our residents, employees and visitors’ lifestyles. Everything from your morning coffee and pastry to weekend brunch, happy hour and late-night dining will be available at Hudson Yards — all offering unique experiences. Hudson Yards is sure to become Manhattan’s newest and most unique culinary destination.”

To access the Shops, guests will enter the five-story atrium that merges the retail center with the Public Square and Gardens. Levels 1–4 will house retailers, and a dozen specialty restaurants will occupy Levels 4–6, including concepts by Chef Thomas Keller, Chef Costas Spiliadis of Milos, and Chef José Andrés. On Levels 5–7, Neiman Marcus will offer a penthouse shopping experience.

Installation work on the retail façade. Photo courtesy Geoff Butler.

MIXED-USE CONSTRUCTION KEEPS PACE | Cattycorner to these shops and set to open in 2018, 55 Hudson Yards will be home to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP; Point72; and MarketAxess. Later that year, the retail center and five-acre Public Square and Gardens will open. In 2019, 30 Hudson Yards will open its doors, home to global investment firm KKR, Wells Fargo Securities, Time Warner, CNN, HBO, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros., and DNB Bank.

The mixed-used 35 Hudson Yards, currently on its 10th floor of construction, will follow. The 1.1M GSF, 1,000-square-feet-tall mixed-use tower was designed to accommodate a hotel, residences, retail space, office space, and a fitness club. When 35 Hudson Yards opens in 2019, it will house 137 for-sale residences, the world’s first Equinox hotel, a 60,000-square-foot Equinox Fitness Club and Spa, and Equinox’s global office headquarters.

And demolition is already underway on the corner lot that will feature 50 Hudson Yards, the 2.9M-square-foot, 985-foot-tall office tower at W. 33rd St. and 10th Ave. Designed by Foster + Partners, it will house the investment management firm BlackRock, which will relocate from its Park Avenue offices. The design stacks three distinct blocks of commercial space on top of each other, staggered with setbacks to create external terraces, with a signature “halo” at the top, adding a new element to the NYC skyline. That building is expected to open by 2022.

“50 Hudson Yards is a key part of a larger vision that integrates places to live and work within a dense, walkable urban neighborhood,” said Norman Foster, Executive Chairman and Founder of Foster + Partners. “Covering a full city block, the building is highly permeable at ground level, allowing it to engage fully with its urban location.”

Residential construction is also keeping pace. Related noted that more than 100 apartments (35 percent of capacity) at 15 Hudson Yards have been sold to date, “outpacing all other Manhattan residential new developments.” The building, imagined by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group, is over 900 feet in height and features 285 luxurious condominiums in 88 stories forming four glass arcs. Several different unit sizes are available, priced from $3.7–$32M.

“The market’s response to 15 Hudson Yards and the pace of sales has been tremendous. Buyers today want convenient access to all elements of their lifestyle. That is exactly what you will find at Hudson Yards,” said Jeff Blau, Chief Executive Officer at Related Companies, in a January press statement.

“Fifteen Hudson Yards quickly became one of the fastest selling buildings of 2016, with more signed contracts than any other new construction development in Manhattan,” echoed Ryan Schleis, Vice President of Research & Analytics of The Corcoran Group.

HUDSON YARDS GETS TWO NEW SCHOOLS | The bulk of properties in Hudson Yards project will be completed by 2019. The final product will feature more than 100 shops and restaurants, five acres of public open space, and a new 750-seat Department of Education public school. And, as Chelsea Now reported in our Dec. 29, 2016 issue (“New Course Charted: Success Academy Purchases First School Space”), Success Academy Charter Schools has also stepped up, making a $68M private purchase of school space at 555 10th Ave. They intend to run an elementary school, middle school, and teacher-training center at the space, which should be open in September 2017.

“It’s a done deal,” said spokesperson Brian Whitley. “Our elementary school sent out applications for K-4th grade and already had the big admissions lottery, but we are still taking applications.”

Robert J. Benfatto Jr., President of the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, noted that in addition to the Success Academy, 555 10th Ave. also houses some of the first residential property to spring up on the northern corner of Hudson Yards. He was pleased to report that people were already living in this building, dubbed 555TEN, situated across from Covenant House. He also noted that the new Henry Hall building at 515 W. 38th St., located at the epicenter of Hudson Yards, was about to open another block of desperately needed residential units.

“It’s residential with retail on the ground floor, and they are out there now trying to rent it out,” said Benfatto. “We hope it’s a success, and are happy to see it is almost done.”

In June 2016, 10 Hudson Yards (center) made its official debut with a reception to welcome its first big-name tenant, Coach Inc., to the 52-story office tower at the corner of W. 30th St. and 10th Ave. Photo courtesy Geoff Butler.

Benfatto said members of his alliance were glad the neighborhood was growing, and were not concerned that Hudson Yards would negatively impact the existing character of Hell’s Kitchen, saying, “There wasn’t much here before, besides former manufacturing stuff that hadn’t gone anywhere in a while. It’s good to see the change. We are also excited by the commercial building on the Eastern Rail Yards. It’s still a year away, but it’s up and coming.”

There will also be an Equinox-branded luxury hotel, all where the High Line, Hudson River Park, and Hudson Park & Boulevard converge. It will be adjacent to the new artistic center The Shed, and will overlook the interactive public landmark called Vessel.

Sitting at the center of the project, the 15-story tall staircase Vessel is a new kind of public landmark comprised of 154 intricately interconnected flights of stairs and 80 landings, which are meant to be climbed and explored.

“In a city full of eye-catching structures, our first thought was that it shouldn’t just be something to look at. Instead we wanted to make something that everybody could use, touch, relate to,” said Thomas Heatherwick, designer and founder of Heatherwick Studio. “Influenced by images we had seen of Indian stepwells, made from hundreds of flights of stairs going down into the ground, an idea emerged to use flights of stairs as building elements.”

On April 18, 2017, the first piece of Vessel was lifted for placement. Photo courtesy Joe Woolhead for Related-Oxford.

Construction officially began on Vessel last month, with the 75 prefabricated interlocking units by Cimolai S.p.A. being shipped from Italy to be assembled on-site. The first 10 pieces have already arrived, with the remaining pieces set to arrive and be lifted into place in the next year.

Vessel should open ahead of the Public Square and Gardens in fall 2018. The first 40 trees for the garden will be planted later this year, followed by more than 28,000 plant species and 200 mature trees. Together with the 200-foot-long fountain that mimics the flow of a river, this centerpiece should be a real eye-catcher.

Blake Hutcheson, President and CEO of Oxford Properties Group, said, “We have always believed that Hudson Yards would give New Yorkers a reason to look up. This spectacular piece by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio goes one step further — it not only gives people a reason to look up, but a reason to go up. A reason to explore and to engage with the city and with one another in a form that is both personal and communal at the same time.”

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