Mayor Bloomberg and top city officials joined executives from the Related Companies, Oxford Properties, and fashion label Coach underneath the northernmost spur of the High Line on Tuesday to announce the first anchor tenant at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. “Today we announce Coach as the anchor tenant at Hudson Yards,” said Related CEO Stephen Ross. He told the crowd that construction could start in a few months. Coach will relocate 1,500 employees currently scattered across three buildings nearby into a sleek glass and steel KPF-designed tower overlooking the High Line, occupying about a third of the planned first tower.
Covering 26 acres along the Hudson River and spanning a LIRR train storage yard, Hudson Yards will mix residential, commercial, retail, and cultural space to create what Ross described as the “Rockefeller Center of the 21st century.” Two tapering buildings on the eastern edge of the site—the first to be built—tilt away from each other, appearing to peek overtop of their neighbors. They are joined by a seven-story glass-enclosed retail podium, forming a twin-towers-over-a-mall typology that Related made famous at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. At 5.5 million square feet and three city blocks long, Related says the “superblock building” will be the largest commercial building in New York.
“Finally you’re going to get a building as nice as your pocket books,” said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The neighborhood is poised to become a center of fashion and culture in Manhattan, a point Bloomberg made in declaring that Fashion Week will someday take place at the Culture Shed, an arts center designed by Diller, Scofidio & Renfro with Rockwell Group planned at Hudson Yards.
While not on stage for the announcement, Bill Pedersen of KPF remarked on the mega-project’s design in a statement. “Hudson Yards must link to the prevailing industrial character of the West Side, while also summarizing this context with a fresh visual dynamic. As a time when extraordinary urban projects are arising around the world, Hudson Yards will be an important symbol of New York’s continued leadership in global urbanism.”
The development of Hudson Yards is aided by the extension of the number 7 subway line from Times Square that officials said is on schedule to open at the end of 2013. New glass-canopied subway entrances designed by Toshiko Mori Architect will be located in Hudson Park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh north of the site.
The announcement is also a boon to the third and final segment of the High Line, which wraps around the Hudson Yards site. Coach’s new global headquarters is located in the shorter, southern tower straddling a section of the elevated park and a large glass atrium will eventually face the park. All parties involved—Related, Coach, and the city—agreed that the High Line should play a prominent role in Hudson Yards. “We at Related look forward to continuing to work with the city, and the Friends of the High Line to transform segment three, and make it a very special place,” said Ross. Bloomberg noted that the city is working with CSX to transfer the final segment of rail to the city.