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Projects & Proposals > Manhattan > Hudson Yards Printer Friendly Version
Hudson Yards
Overview | Area | Original Proposal as Adopted | EIS | Follow-Up Actions/Bonus Contributions
Financing | Prior Planning Studies

Hudson Yards Graphic

The Need
The Precedent
The Vision

The Need
For centuries, New York has grown to meet the employment and housing needs of its citizens. The foresight of the city’s leaders – exemplified best in Manhattan's grid plan of 1811 and the annexation and consolidation of 1898 – has been matched by private entrepreneurship, especially in the railroads and in the subway systems that reached out from the City's point of origin in Lower Manhattan to the outer boroughs. Over time, in large part because of that confluence of transit lines, the office market settled in Manhattan.

That demand continues – the 2000 Census indicated that over 8 million people now live in New York City, the most in the City’s history. Companies continue to seek out New York City as a place to set up headquarters, the latest example is Bank of America. In the New York region, it is anticipated that there will be the need to accommodate over 440,000 new workers, requiring 111 million square feet of new space by 2025. If Midtown captures near its historical share, 45 million square feet of office space would be needed over the next 20 years. The problem is that there are few sites remaining in Midtown to accommodate new office buildings. Recent studies indicate that at most, there is perhaps room to accommodate only 20 million square feet in Midtown. In a place where dreams and ambitions are limitless, land is not. Manhattan in a few short years will be out of developable land for new office construction.

There is one last frontier available in Manhattan - Hudson Yards, the underutilized area bounded roughly by West 42nd Street and West 30th Street, Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River. It is in these 360 acres that the City can meet its public responsibility to continue to provide job and housing opportunities for all New Yorkers.

This need in Midtown is unrelated to - and not competitive with - the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. Rebuilding Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center is the City’s first priority and great progress is being made. The Trade Center is the last location in Lower Manhattan that can accommodate commercial buildings. With the completion of the Trade Center, Lower Manhattan will have no more capacity for new office development. The Trade Center is expected to be redeveloped over the course of the next decade, providing nearly 10 million square feet of commercial space. As the Trade Center is nearing completion, only then will Hudson Yards have the necessary subway access and public amenities to attract new development. We must look ahead, and plan ahead, so that New York will continue to provide office employment opportunities for its citizens in the future.

There is an unacceptable alternative: to abdicate and do nothing. Over the last several decades, regional office growth trend shifted from the City to New Jersey and Long Island where land is plentiful and cheaper. This shift in office locations has implications for the Region and New York City. Suburban office development has an environmental cost as workers shift from mass transit to private automobiles and patterns of regional sprawl expand. Not only does suburban office development have a negative impact on the region, but it negatively impacts New York City as well. Income taxes and real estate taxes generated by Manhattan office space is the major contributor to our city's operating budget. This revenue provides services to all New Yorkers in every borough. It is our responsibility to all New Yorkers - not only for direct jobs, but for those indirect revenues - to recapture our market share by making new sites available.

Office space is not our only need. Our convention center, the Jacob K. Javits, whose spin-off effects include jobs in retail, tourism, food and entertainment sectors, ranks only 18th in size in North America. The Javits is not only hindered by its size, but also by its array of spaces it can offer conventions. The Javits can't serve the 60 largest annual shows, and is fully booked for the limited space it does have. The convention center must expand to be competitive and must provide more meeting spaces, ball rooms, and plenary halls to attract new users.

Increasingly, people are moving into, and back to, Manhattan - to be closer to work, and to feed off Midtown's cultural and entertainment energy. The demand for new housing in New York City is great and is expected to grow. Hudson Yards provides not only for future commercial development in Manhattan, but also for approximately 12,600 new housing units.

Hudson Yards will provide opportunities for the desperately needed office space, convention center expansion, and residential growth that the City will need in the coming decades.

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The Precedent
New York's greatness over the centuries has been its ability to make major public investments that trigger private market response. The gridplan of 1811, laid out the future of development for the entire island of Manhattan at a time few people thought development would expand above Houston Street. Central Park was a visionary undertaking that is a treasure to the City and a much needed recreational space for thousands of New Yorkers. Hudson Yards is based on the ability of New York to make strategic public investments that provide invaluable returns long into the future.

Much of Hudson Yards, 33 acres to be exact, today is below grade railroad tracks that are proposed to be “covered over” to accommodate development and parks. The City is confident that this area can be transformed into one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the 21st Century because it accomplished this feat at the beginning of the 20th Century.

In 1903, the state legislature, responding to public outrage at the pollution and filth of the New York Central Railroad rail yards in mid-Manhattan, passed a law requiring the railroad to "cover its tracks". In response, the railroad built a deck over newly electrified tracks from Madison Avenue to Lexington Avenue, from East 42nd to East 56th streets. Down the middle of the deck a grand boulevard, Park Avenue, was built. It was crowned with a magnificent new train station, the Grand Central Terminal. Over the next three decades, new hotels, office buildings, and apartments sprang up along Park Avenue, forming the core of what would become the world's greatest central business district. One hundred years later, the trains still run under Park Avenue, and on the blocks over the tracks 160,000 people earn their living.

The vision for Hudson Yards is to transform today's underused Far West Side into a place where New Yorkers and tourists will want to live, work, play and visit. Just like Park Avenue 100 years ago, we must look forward to secure the City’s future.

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Hudson Yards Vision

Rendering of Hudson Yards
Rendering of Hudson Yards
The Hudson Yards is a comprehensive proposal to realize the development potential of Manhattan’s Far West Side. The Hudson Yards area extends from West 28th Street on the south, Seventh and Eighth avenues on the east, West 43rd Street on the north, and the Hudson River on the west. Hudson Yards is ideally located to allow for the expansion of the Midtown Central Business District and to help secure New York City’s economic future. The project includes a series of actions to transform Hudson Yards into a dynamic, transit-oriented urban center, permitting medium- to high-density development and a mix of uses, including commercial, residential, open space, cultural and entertainment.

The plan for the transformation of Hudson Yards is based on the “preferred direction” for the area, proposed by the Department of City Planning and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCED) in 2003, and by the Far West Midtown Framework for Development completed by the Department of City Planning in 2001. The proposal identifies the following four key public sector actions that would be necessary to attract private development to the area:
Extending subway service
Establishing a new open space network
Zoning for appropriate densities and uses
Creating a Convention Corridor

Extending Subway Service
Photo of No. 7 Subway
No. 7 Subway
In conjunction with the Department’s rezoning proposal, the MTA is planning for the extension of the No. 7 Subway line. The No. 7 Subway line would be extended to the west from the existing terminus at West 41st Street and Seventh Avenue, with a station at West 41st Street and Tenth Avenue, and then south, to a new terminus at West 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue. The proposed extension would place nearly all points in Hudson Yards within less than a 10-minute walk to a subway station.

Creating Open Space Network
The Hudson Yards plan includes a major new open space network (over 20 acres) that would travel through the heart of the new commercial district. Beginning at West 42nd Street the network would rise on a pedestrian bridge south to West 39th Street, where it would expand into a linear north-south park bordered by a new tree-lined boulevard (“Hudson Boulevard”) between Tenth and Eleventh avenues, terminating at a six-acre public square between West 30th and West 33rd streets. The new park and street system would be built on new platforms above the Amtrak rail road cut and the MTA’s Eastern Rail Yard, thereby regularizing the area’s topography and covering over the presence of unsightly transportation infrastructure. The park system would also link with the planned reuse of the High Line elevated rail line to the south in West Chelsea, and two new full block waterfront parks to the north and south of the New York Sports and Convention Center (NYSCC). Municipal parking facilities would be relocated from area waterfront piers to below-grade space beneath one of the new full block waterfront parks, allowing for expansion of the adjacent Hudson River Park.

Zoning for Appropriate Densities and Uses
Hudson Yards Density Concept
View the proposal
Rezoning the Hudson Yards area would reinforce existing neighborhoods while transforming underused areas into a thriving and desirable urban district. The proposed rezoning is based on a land use plan to allow significant commercial expansion over the next 30 to 40 years. The absence of sites in Midtown Manhattan for large floor-plate office buildings has led many companies to leave the City for larger sites elsewhere in the region. Rezoning would ensure that redevelopment of the area supports the larger goal of keeping New York competitive as a global city for the next several decades. While accommodating approximately 28 million square feet of commercial office growth, the plan also provides for approximately 12.6 million square feet of residential expansion.

Convention Corridor
The need for a larger and more versatile Convention Center has long been apparent. Hudson Yards addresses this longstanding need with the creation of a Convention Corridor. Concurrent with the rezoning, two projects under State leadership will provide a first-class convention complex. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is proposed to be expanded north to West 41st Street with a hotel on West 42nd Street. The expansion will increase the size of its contiguous exhibition area from 760,00 square feet to 1,300,000 square feet. Additionally, the expansion will provide a convention center hotel, a ballroom of 86,000 square feet, and an increase in meeting rooms to 365,000 square feet.

Imagining the Future of Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards is the future of New York City. Over the next decade the public sector will provide subway service, create parks, deck over unsightly railroad infrastructure and expand the convention facilities. These improvements are anticipated to be completed by 2012; private sector development is expected to occur over a longer period, transforming the area with highrise and midrise office and residential buildings.

View on the pedestrian bridge connecting 38th and 42nd Streets, looking south
View on the pedestrian bridge connecting 38th and 42nd Streets, looking south
View of the High Line Market proposed along 30th Street, looking west
View of the High Line Market proposed along 30th Street, looking west

Overview | Area | Original Proposal as Adopted | EIS | Follow-Up Actions | Financing | Prior Planning Studies

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