Hudson Yards Applications Approved; Sent to Council

New development potential of 26 million sq.ft. of office space and 13.6 million sq.ft. of residential; 24 acres of parks, a subway extension, and a new boulevard approved. On November 22, 2004, the Commission approved the Bloomberg Administration’s major urban planning initiative for Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, the area bounded by West 30th and West 43rd Streets, running from Seventh and Eighth Avenues to Twelfth Avenue.

The ten applications before the Commission would achieve a comprehensive redevelopment plan, the expansion of City services and a rezoning of the entire area. At the center of the plan for redevelopment is the transfer from the MTA to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services of the 30-acre, eastern portion of the Caemmerer Yard, spanning from West 30th to West 33rd Streets and from Tenth to Eleventh Avenues, for construction of a platform over the yard. (See C 040505 PQM.) The platform would facilitate future private development and the City’s construction of new parks. Further, the rail yard transfer would partially enable the No. 7 Flushing Line expansion, which is proposed to extend from Times Square to West 41st Street and Tenth Avenue, then south to West 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue. (See C 040504 PQM.)

With the platform and subway extension as catalysts, the area’s comprehensive redevelopment is envisioned in a cautious and comprehensive block-by-block rezoning. The rezoning would alter the area from a primarily low-density manufacturing and commercial zoning (FAR of 5 or 6) to commercial/residential zoning with medium and high densities (FAR of 15 and 19), ultimately permitting future construction of up to 26 million sq.ft. of new office space and 13.6 million sq.ft. of new residential space.

Under the rezoning, a Special Hudson Yards District is to be created with six detailed, separate subdistricts to relate to established neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen. Large-scale commercial development will be centered in a new central business district along Eleventh Avenue (from West 30th to West 41st) and Tenth Avenue (from West 30th to West 36th). This area would be restricted to commercial development to ensure office space is developed.

Residential development will be fostered primarily along Ninth Avenue; West 35th to West 41st Streets between Ninth and Tenth Avenues; and West 34th Street between Eighth and Tenth Avenues. Larger scale residential development would be located along Tenth Avenue to create a transition between the lower scale mixed-use buildings in Hell’s Kitchen and the higher scale commercial corridor on Eleventh Avenue. Under the new text amendments, density of new developments could be increased, among other ways, by including affordable housing in a residential project or by making a monetary contribution to an infrastructure fund managed by the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation.

A farsighted, dramatic aspect of the plan is the proposed creation of 24 acres of parks and a new City street, called “Hudson Boulevard,” to extend from West 33rd to West 38th Streets between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. Hudson Boulevard would have two 50-ft. wide roadways divided by a new linear park containing green spaces, trees, seating, playgrounds, restaurants and subway entrances. The new linear park would connect to a park planned for West 41st and West 42nd Streets by a pedestrian bridge over the Lincoln Tunnel. Finally, a full-block park would be created at the south end of the rezoned area between West 29th to West 30th Streets and Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. (See C 040507 MMM; C 040508 MMM.)

Six other City agencies – Parks, the MTA, the Department of Transportation, Sanitation, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and the NYPD – joined with Planning for joint execution of the comprehensive plan to create services, parking, streets, parks, and transit to meet the increased need created by new development. All of these joint actions were approved on November 22nd. Among these were:

— DCAS, Sanitation and the NYPD would develop a combined facility with a NYPD tow-pound and two Sanitation garages, serving Manhattan Districts 2 and 5, to replace the NYPD tow-pound on Pier 76 and Sanitation’s facilities on Gansevoort Street. The combined facility would occupy the full block between West 29th and West 30th Streets and Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues and, for it, the City would acquire privately-owned property currently containing gas stations, parking lots, industrial buildings, and an art gallery. (See C 040501 PCM.)

— DOT and DCAS would acquire fourteen, privately-owned lots between West 34th and West 36th Streets and Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues for construction of a 950- space, below-grade parking garage on sites currently housing two residential buildings, a live/work loft, warehouses, lofts and garages. (See C 040502 PCM.)DCAS would acquire a 60-ft. wide easement over the Lincoln Tunnel for construction of a pedestrian bridge connecting proposed open spaces. (See C 040503 PQM.)

— DCAS would acquire ten private lots and 66 easements for the No. 7 Flushing Subway line. DCAS would sell 36 lots – ten immediately after the subway expansion – to private developers for new construction. (See C 040504 PQM; C 040506 PQM.)

— Parks and Planning, to construct the parks and Hudson Boulevard, would acquire and displace warehouses, a residential building, live/work space and one homeless shelter. Acquisition and construction of the Boulevard and the park system would start first with the portion between West 33rd and West 36th Streets, which is planned for completion by 2012. The extension to West 38th Street would commence with the City’s acquisition of lots in 2012. West 35th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues would be eliminated.


The Commission held a daylong public hearing on September 23, 2004 at which opponents primarily argued in favor of requiring development of affordable housing rather than providing a density bonus to encourage it.

The proposal before the Commission did not include either an approval of a proposed Olympic Stadium or an expansion of the Javits Convention Center. The proposed new zoning would, however, permit both actions to be taken should projects go forward.

During the hearing process, the City modified the proposal in response to the Community Boards’ and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ proposals to lower density along 42nd Street, concentrate larger buildings along West 33rd Street, remove the blocks south of Penn Station from the action, and increase the permitted residential square footage, among others. The Commission voted to approve on November 22, 2004.

Chair Amanda M. Burden called the combined applications a “visionary blueprint,” stating that the ten related actions were necessary for New York City to secure its share of the region’s anticipated future growth, and that, in her opinion, the Hudson Yards rezoning is the most ambitious plan for the City since the 1811 grid plan. Both Vice Chair Kenneth Knuckles and Commissioner Angela R. Cavaluzzi stated that the rezoning did not go far enough, specifically with affordable housing, but, voted to approve, stating that its benefits outweighed its faults.

Commissioner Karen A. Phillips, characterizing the actions as the “tail wagging the dog,” was the sole vote in opposition. Commissioner Phillips voted against all of the applications except for the City’s acquisition of lots for the Sanitation garage/NYPD tow-pound and the acquisition of the Caemmerer Yard to facilitate the development platform. Phillips made it clear that she supported the expansion of Javits and the NY 2012 application, but stated that she felt a proposed stadium for the 2012 Olympics could be located elsewhere.

ULURP Process: As co-lead agencies, the Planning Commission and the MTA prepared a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, held a public meeting on June 6, 2003, and issued a Notice of Completion on June 21, 2004. The final environmental study was filed as complete on November 8, 2004.

On June 21, 2004, the Planning Commission sent all ten Hudson Yards applications to Community Board 4. It also sent the three applications, which affected it, to Community Board 5. Community Board 4, following its two public hearings on August 3 and August 11, 2004, issued a 41-page commentary on the applications, approving with conditions only the zoning map amendment, the acquisition of property for the sanitation garage/tow pound, and the new full-block park at West 29th to West 30th Streets and Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. Community Board 5 disapproved the text and map amendments, but approved the City’s acquisition of property for the No. 7 Flushing Subway line extension.

The Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields submitted her recommendations to approve all, adding lengthy conditions to the rezoning proposal and the acquisition of land for the subway. The Borough President’s concerns were largely related to affordable housing, density, transportation, condemnation, jobs, and the final operation of the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, a financing vehicle for the development. The Borough Board considered the text and map amendment, approving only the map amendment.

City Council’s public hearing and review is pending.

CPC: Hudson Yards (C 040499(A) ZMM – zoning map amendment); (N 040500(A) ZRM – text amendment); (C 040501 PCMacquisition for sanitation garage/towpound); (C 040502 PCM – acquisition for public parking garage); (C 040503 PQM – easement acquisition for pedestrian bridge); (C 040504 PQM – acquisition of property for subway); (C 040505 PQM – acquisition of Caemmerer Yard); (C 040506 PPM – disposition of 36 lots); (040507 MMM – City Map change for Hudson Boulevard); (C 040508 MMM – City Map change for park) (November 22, 2004). CITYADMIN


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