After years of debate and delays, Hudson Yards—an ambitious plan to create a new mixed-use neighborhood from scratch over railroad tracks on Manhattan’s west side—is finally breaking ground. Excavations for the first office tower on the site, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), which also created the master plan, will begin by the first week of December, according to a source at the Related Companies, its co-developer with Oxford Properties Group.
While much of Manhattan’s waterfront suffered serious flood damage from Hurricane Sandy, the site, which sprawls along the Hudson between Tenth and Twelfth Avenues, and West 30th and West 33rd Streets, was spared. The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) stores its trains there, and its pumps worked when the water surged. Most of the development will be built atop a massive platform that will cover the tracks and allow trains to run even during construction. This should protect buildings from future storms, which have suddenly become a major worry. “Hudson Yards will have the benefit of learning from the mistakes of others” and incorporate the latest dewatering technologies, says Mitchell Moss, an urban planning professor at New York University.