Hudson Yards: NYC's Urban Town Within A City
NEW YORK (AP) â New York lost the 2012 Olympics, but the city's bid for the summer games spurred another, visionary venture: building up the largest undeveloped parcel in Manhattan.
While London got the games, New York was left with the largest, best opportunity for development remaining in town.
On Manhattan's West Side, the old Hudson rail storage yards are surrounded by potholed roads, warehouses, low-rent brownstones, cheap delis and strip clubs. Crowds waiting for discount buses line 10th Avenue. And homeless New Yorkers camp out in desolate lots strewn with garbage.
But the area has seen progress in the seven years since New York lost its bid to host the Olympics.
On a hot summer day, passers-by catch a glimpse of a deep man-made hole in the ground â the core of a subway line extension to the area from Times Square. More than a dozen residential towers have been built near the Hudson River, along with several hotels. And both residents and tourists are flocking to the hugely popular High Line, an elevated rail line transformed into a grassy walkway.
This October, developers of the ambitious Hudson Yards project expect to break ground on a skyscraper where the Olympic stadium could have been.
It's the first step in a $15 billion small city within a city planned for 26 acres of land by the river, bounded by 10th and 12th avenues and West 30th and 33rd streets.
Hudson Yards "is not just another development â it's part of a larger effort to create a physical infrastructure for a multi-decade expansion of New York City," says Lynne Sagalyn, professor of real estate at Columbia Business School.
Turning the isolated waterfront into Manhattan's next big business district has been a dream of city leaders for years. The city rezoned a 60-block stretch of the West Side to accommodate 25 million square feet of office space expected to rise as midtown Manhattan runs out of room. Mayor Michael Bloomberg envisions a development that could eventually change the skyline â "a historic project that will create jobs for generations to come," he says.
The effort to bring this megaproject to life hasn't exactly been harmonious.
Years of bitter wrangling among politicians, business people and residents focused around a proposed football stadium for the Jets meant to help win the city the Olympics. The stadium fell short of state approval; opponents questioned the benefit of publicly financing a structure with limited use and possible traffic gridlock.