The West Side skyline is getting a facelift as construction of Hudson Yards, a $15 billion development, has begun just north of the final section of the High Line above existing rail yards. The deal was reached in 2008 between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Related Companies on the heels of a failed attempt to secure the 2012 Olympic games to be hosted in New York City. The Hudson Yards development will bring ten new high-rise buildings to the West Side filled with offices and luxury condos, retail space, as well as sustainable green areas, all situated above one of the busiest rail yards in the United States.
As the real estate market fell apart, plans to develop this space went likewise into hibernation. Now, with new support from Canada-based Oxford Properties Group, Inc. the plans are moving forward as construction has begun on a 47-story high-rise, the first of a planned 10 structures. Soon another tower, designed by Kohn Penderson Fox and Elkus Manfredi to be 69 stories tall, will join it along 10th Avenue. These two towers reach sharply into the sky with their asymmetry and jagged edges allow for oblique observation decks and common spaces and are already drawing high profile tenants such as luxury retailer Coach USA, beauty company L’Oreal, and German software company SAP.
Two more towers with a more rounded design will join the complex as part of Phase I, these reaching 60 and 72 stories in to the sky, slated to be completed in 2017. Related chairman Stephen Ross notes, “This will shift the heart of the city to the Far West Side. If you look at where all the young people are today, where they want to be, where all the money is going, it’s the West Side of Manhattan, the yards will be the epicenter of all that.” With the development of the third and final length of the High Line coming, Ross’ prediction of the future of the Far West Side may be spot on. The design calls for integration into the surrounding cityscape, complete with lawns that slope the existing High Line and an open-air pavillion over the tracks below.
James S. Russell of Bloomberg writes that the designs of the four tallest buildings “collide jarringly.” Disagreement regarding the design was also partially to blame for the initial lag of the development. Personally, the designs are strikingly futuristic and reminiscent of the modern architecture of David Child’s 1 WTC, whether you like the watered down vision of Daniel Libeskind’s original design. What do you think? Feel free to offer your opinion on the Hudson Yards towers in the comment section!