August 2017
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The City Weighs In

hudson yards city plan aerialThe City’s plan to redevelop the area roughly between 42nd Street, 28th Street, 8th Avenue and the Hudson River seeks to accommodate upward of 40 million square feet of new development. The plan also includes an expansion of the Javits Convention Center and construction of a stadium/ convention facility, each costing $1.4 billion. This area, part of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, is currently zoned mostly for manufacturing. The City seeks to rezone for a high-density mix of residential and commercial uses. The official 6,000-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement describing the plan is available on the Department of City Planning website: www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/eis.shtml. The City’s proposal calls for upward of 28 million square feet of office space and 12 million square feet of residential space, 1.5 million square feet of hotel space, and 700,000 square feet of retail. The City maintains that by providing the space for new commercial construction on the Far West Side, it will allow the city to meet its share of the 110-million-square-foot growth in office space projected for the region over the next 30 years. Alternative plans question whether there is genuine demand for the full 28 million square-feet of office space. Plans proposed by the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association (HKNA) accommodate 40 million square feet of development but put a greater emphasis on residential uses. In the City’s plan, the majority of new office space would be built between 10th and 11th Avenues along a new mid-block boulevard with Floor Area Ratio (FAR) height restrictions being unlimited in some places. This would allow for office towers higher than the Empire State Building. Alternative plans, including that of HKNA, are calling for commercial development to be concentrated south of 35th Street, primarily along a 32nd Street corridor west of 9th Avenue. They accomplish this by proposing commercial development over the western railyards in place of the stadium/convention facility. The sports and convention complex being spearheaded by the City and the New York Jets would be built on a new platform over the railyards between 34th and 30th Streets west of 11th Avenue. The City and state will be contributing $600 million for a platform and roof. The Jets will be paying $800 million. The Javits expansion is also expected to cost $1.4 billion. Despite optimistic predictions, recent analyses and the experiences of other cities call into question the economic return of the project claimed by its promoters. Many questions surrounding the project remain unresolved, including the amount of rent to be paid by the Jets to the MTA, possible tax exemptions for the Jets, and control of convention scheduling. To support these developments the City seeks to extend the 7 train west to 11th Avenue along 41st Street and south to 34th Street at a cost to the city of approximately $2 billion. Other improvements include a new mid-block boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues, new park space, a 32nd Street pedestrian corridor, a new cultural institution, and a large public plaza over the railyards east of 11th Avenue. The rezoning of the Hudson Yards area was approved by vote of the City Council on January 19, 2005, establishing new commercial and residential development areas west of 8th Avenue. This vote was not related to the Javits Center expansion or the proposed sports and convention facility, which will require the approval of the New York State Legislature The MAS supports redevelopment on the Far West Side but recognizes several issues that are keys to success. Please continue reading here to learn more about them.