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Transformation of Far West Side Begins as New York City Breaks Ground on Hudson Yards

At long last, New York City has broken ground on the massive Hudson Yards project. With the South Office Tower (Coach’s future LEED Platinum headquarters) already under construction, Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg joined Related’s Steve Ross on Tuesday in a ceremony to mark the formal start of the historic, $15 billion, 26-acre development that will transform Manhattan’s far West Side over the next decade.

The project, of course, will rise above the MTA’s West Side Rail Yards – the largest remaining block of undeveloped land in Manhattan. To call the project transformative would be an understatement: coupled with the extension of the 7 train from Times Square and – eventually – a redeveloped Moynihan Station, over $2 billion in mass transit improvements will reposition what was formerly a relatively desolate stretch of light industrial properties into a dynamic, mixed-use destination. Of particular interest to us here at gbNYC, architects KPF’s master plan for the project also calls for an impressive number of green building and sustainability-related features.

Again, that plan calls for 5000 apartments in 9 residential buildings, 6 million square feet of commercial office space with 1 million square feet of retail, a 150-room, 5-star hotel, a 750-seat public school, and 20 acres of open public space. It also aims to make Hudson Yards “one of the most sustainable large-scale urban developments of its day, reflecting the new best thinking in high performance and environmentally sensitive design, construction, and operation.” The two office towers – the North tower will break ground once Related secures an anchor tenant – will aim for at least Gold certification under the LEED 2009 rating system for Core and Shell. And, according to Related, they will be “the most energy efficient towers in Manhattan.”

The project will be delivered in two phases: Phase I, Eastern Rail Yard, from 10th to 11th Avenue between West 30th and West 33rd Streets; and Phase II, Western Rail Yard, from 11th to 12th Avenue between West 30th and West 33rd Streets. That second phase will break ground once tenants are secured. The first phase should be completed by 2017.

“Today’s groundbreaking means that the market has spoken and, even in this challenging economy, we’re moving forward to make the far West Side’s economic potential a reality,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This process started with the city council’s approval in 2005 of our proposed rezoning of the Hudson Yards area. The city’s $3 billion in public infrastructure investment has unlocked even bigger private investment, more than $6 billion of private projects have been completed since 2005. It really can have a multiplier effect and bring real business and real growth to our city.”

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