Go West: Largest development in U.S. history poised for greatness

By Steven Spinola

If Horace Greeley were around today, urging folks to “Go West, young man” these days he would be talking about exploring the West Side of Manhattan over the Western United States.

Rendering of Manhattan West.

It is fitting then that Greeley Square sits just east of the largest development in the history of the United States between Broadway and Sixth Avenue on 33rd Street. An entirely new neighborhood is taking root on Manhattan’s far West Side. Add in the High Line, the Whitney Museum, and the number 7 subway line, it seems everything is expanding to the West.

The spectacular expansion of Manhattan’s West Side marked another important milestone this week with the opening of the third and northernmost section of the High Line Park at the Hudson Rail Yards.

The completed High Line at the Rail Yards means the once dilapidated, abandoned 1.45-mile eyesore is fully transformed. New Yorkers and visitors alike are now able to experience all 22 blocks of the High Line, from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street.

The newly opened Rail Yards section extends the park from 30th Street and 10th Avenue, to the curve near 12th Avenue, and up to 34th Street. Newly planted trees, plants, seating areas and pathways have been installed in the High Line’s original rail tracks.

Down at the southern end of the High Line, next spring will mark the opening of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s breathtaking new building. The Whitney’s cantilevered entrance along Gansevoort Street will shelter an 8,500-square-foot outdoor public gathering space just a few feet away from the southern entrance to the High Line. The museum’s new home will feature 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries and 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space and terraces facing the High Line.

The new and improved Whitney will be the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City and will attract even more New Yorkers and visitors from around the world.

Brookfield’s seven-million square foot Manhattan West project took an important step last week as well.

Permits were filed for One Manhattan West, a 67-story, two-million-square-foot LEED Gold office tower that will stand 995 feet. The tower will sit atop the eastern-most rail yard once the platform over the tracks in completed.

One Manhattan West will be joined by a residential tower of similar proportions, both of which were designed by the renowned Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

This has been a banner year for the western rail yard as well. The Related Companies, in partnership with Oxford Properties, began their decking process this past March, and filed permits for 2.6 million square foot 30 Hudson Yards office tower in July.

When all is said and done, the High Line will frame over 17 million square feet of new commercial and residential space split between 5 offices towers and about 5,000 residences. Not to mention 14 acres of public open space, a 750-seat school, a 175-room luxury hotel, more than 100 shops, a collection of restaurants, and one of the most unique cultural spaces in the world.

REBNY’s own Chairperson, Rob Speyer also intends on helping to shape the new Hudson Yards skyline. Last Spring, Tishman Speyer acquired the “Hudson Spire” development site marketed by Massey Knakal.

Assembled with an adjacent site and additional development rights, they are planning a 2.85 million square foot office and retail tower stretching a full block between 34th and 35th Street between 10th Avenue and the forthcoming Hudson Park and Boulevard.

At this point, the complete transformation of this area is beyond what anyone could have imagined. When you consider all the residential housing, businesses, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs that have sprung to life along the High Line, it can be difficult to remember just how desolate and isolated this area had been.

For generations this section of Manhattan was hardly anyone’s first choice area to visit, now it’s on its way to be not only a top tourist destination, but so much more as well.

There is even more change and growth on the horizon. Next year, the number 7 subway line extension will provide easy access to the Javits Center and what will become Hudson Park and Boulevard. The first building of the brand new emerging neighborhood called Hudson Yards will open as well.

Yes indeed, if he were around today, Greeley would be directing people to explore the West Side of Manhattan. Go West!

In other REBNY news:
Oct 23 is the Residential Charity & Deal of the Year Awards Gala at The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Cocktails at 6:30pm.
November 4th is REBNY’s Members’ Luncheon: “New York Real Estate Forecast: Market Trends for Today & Tomorrow” for more information contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com