The Hudson Yards Deal
March 27th, 2008

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s selection of Tishman Speyer to develop the 26-acre Hudson railyards is garnering mixed reviews.

At one end sits the Daily News, which sees the deal as a win-win for New York.

“The project would dramatically transform an area now dominated by the below-grade tracks and dowdy low-rise buildings,” the paper says. Perhaps even more importantly, the editorial continues, “The MTA stands to gain $1 billion that would be spent on mass-transit construction and rehab projects. The city stands to reap a major boost in property tax revenue.[and] a new public school, as well as the renovation of the High Line rail trestle into a major new park.”

The people involved in that park seem pleased as well. “The treatment of the High Line in Tishman Speyers bid shows considerable progress from the days when it was presumed the site could not be developed without its demolition,” writes
High Line Blog

greenbuildingsnyc sees good and bad in the decision. While expressing concern about a paucity of affordable housing in the Tishman Speyer plan, the blog says, “We are pleased that a developer with a track record of sustainable initiatives will be responsible for one of the largest development projects in the history of the city.” And it approvingly quotes an unnamed observer who told The Real Deal that the developers “have a vision and track record of building and creating things with vision.

But others have doubts. “This Tishman Speyer proposal, if thats the land-use plan were working on by the time it comes to the community, its unlikely that it would be supported by the community,” Anna Levin, the land-use chairwoman of Community Board 4, told the Observer. “The fact that its got such massive commercial density is a big problem.”

No one was more scathing in his comments than the Times’ Nicolai Ouroussoff. Calling the proposed project “miserably depressing, “the architecture critic continues, “the central garden is a meager strip of grass, trees and walkways that would be overshadowed by the buildings on either side. Tishman Speyer envisions a gantlet of stores and cafes, further chipping away at any notion of noble public space .Both the plaza and an adjoining multistory mall suggest the kind of pseudosuburbia that has been eating away at our urban identity since the Giuliani years.”

Ouroussoff then goes on to lambaste “the nature of the urban planning process” in New York, which make it likely that the project will only get worse.

Looking ahead, he predicts, “If the city manages to steamroll the Tishman Speyer railyards proposal through the public review process, the broad outlines will be virtually set in stone. So will the sites density, among the highest in the city. And the architecture within the plan will gradually diminish in quality.”

If he’s looking for consolation, though, Ouroussoff could turn to the Metro section of his newspaper. There Charles Bagli writes, ” it may be years before anything gets built over the 26-acre railyards. And it is unlikely, when and if the buildings do go up, that they will look like the glassy towers in the developers current plans.

By on March 27, 2008, 5:13 pm
In category: Gotham City,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “The Hudson Yards Deal”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Hudson Yards Plan Derailed Says:
    May 13th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    […] Transportation Authority officials and developer Tishman Speyer have been unable to work out their differences, and today, the MTA released a brief statement: “The MTA met today with Tishman Speyer. […]

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