New York’s High Line has proved to be a massive draw to regeneration, without which the Hudson Yards project would not have been able to attract its first high profile tenant, Coach.
So said Related Companies’ VP of Planning and Design Michael Samuelian at a special breakfast session held by the NLA on the project at KPF’s central London headquarters building. Samuelian said that the scheme, which bills itself as New York’s next great neighbourhood’, has a ‘unique relationship with the High Line, which was a ‘huge boon to our site’, Hudson becoming the ‘recipients’ of public investment. The line-turned-public walkway has brought in a staggering $4bn in public investment around it from a $200m outlay and connects with the scheme’s south tower and plaza. The High Line is now the 3rdmost visited site in New York, attracting 3.7m visitors per year, and will play a big part in the success of the 13m sqft Hudson Yards project, part of which builds over the feature. ‘The crowning achievement has been the High Line’ said Samuelian. ‘It has become an international phenomenon and yet there is nothing to do up there’ said.
Another key to the success will be another piece of new infrastructure, the extension of the number 7 subway, a $2billion scheme funded through TIF which opens next December.
Luxury retailer Coach is the anchor tenant for the Related and Oxford Properties Group scheme’s south tower, taking 700,000sq ft or 40 per cent of the first building. It had always been Related’s vision that the scheme would attract financial firms to the new office quarter, but it was ‘not random’ that a fashion company will be one of the first tenants. People were moving into the area to be ‘part of the vibe’, said Samuelian, including the ‘young digerati’, drawn to a part of the city chock-a-block with galleries. A new cultural centre on the Hudson Yards site is being designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro – a large shed structure which can be slid on tracks to provide space for events. Discussions are taking place to bring New York’s Fashion Week here as its permanent home. Elsewhere in the project there will be a focus on over one million square feet of retail, to attend to a perceived shortfall, with 24 sqft of retail per person in the US but only 3sq ft of retail per person in the district. And Diller Scofidio + Renfro is also designing the first residential building at the site, a 700 unit block, while artist Jeff Koons is designing some unusual public art for the project - a 70 foot sculpture replica of a 1943 locomotive engine, which will be dangled nose down from a 161 foot crane over a highway.
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly