Hudson Yards breaks ground on first tower

Bloomberg credits Quinn with much of his administration's success

From left: the groundbreaking ceremony today and a rendering of the Hudson Yards
From left: the groundbreaking ceremony today and a rendering of the Hudson Yards

The Related Companies and Oxford Property Group today broke ground at their Far West Side development known as the Hudson Yards. The public-private project is set to rise on 26 acres, the largest swath of as-of-yet undeveloped property in Manhattan.

Six years since planning began, the first dirt was moved to make way for the Hudson Yards’ South Tower, the 47-story future home of the luxury retailer Coach. That building, at the northeast corner of Tenth Avenue and 30th Street, will include 740,000 square feet that Coach will own as a commercial condominium, as previously reported.

“The market has spoken,” Mayor Bloomberg told those who had gathered for the groundbreaking. He said that the massive campus will make use of the borough’s “final frontier,” and that the development that rises there will comprise New York City’s “next gold coast.”

City Council Speaker Quinn underscored repeatedly that the project would bring affordable housing to the area and that community groups worked together to make the $15 billion project a reality. “They yelled till they could agree,” she said, of community stakeholders.

In a question-answer session following the groundbreaking, the Mayor was repeatedly questioned about his thoughts on the person who will succeed him. He was short with a reporter who asked about his reported request that Secretary Hillary Clinton try for the office, denying having made any public statement about it, but not denying the facts outright. “Did you hear me say that?” he asked. When the reporter responded, “I did not hear you say that,” the Mayor replied “Okay,” sounding annoyed.

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The Mayor did have praise for Quinn, whose expected mayoral candidacy remains a source of puzzlement for the real estate industry. “She’s a leader,” the Mayor said. He also said he believed his administration has been “phenomenally successful,” and that he has Quinn to thank for much of that success.

And one of Bloomberg’s greatest legacies as Mayor may be the huge mixed-use project, which will include retail, office space, housing and a five-star hotel.

Hudson Yards should produce 6 million square feet of additional commercial space for the city by the time it is complete, in about 12 years.

Related Chairman Stephen Ross today insisted that the project would be finished on schedule and on budget. He told the New York Daily News previously that 80 percent of the South Tower is already accounted for, and that his company will make announcements about additional commercial leases there soon. “This will shift the heart of the city to the Far West Side,” Ross said at the event.

The first tower in the complex, which has widely been analogized to a city unto itself, should be complete by 2015. The next planned tower is the 2.4 million-square-foot North Tower, which is scheduled to be completed by 2018.