NYC’s Hudson Yards Started From The Bottom, Now It’s Hot

The area has gone from desolate old railyard to hot luxury neighborhood in just a few years—and it's built from scratch.

New York City is where it’s all happening, darling. The city and its innovators define what’s “in” for fashion, art, media, cuisine and practically everything else. ESTATENVY spoke with Philip Lang, COO and co-founder of the software-powered real estate brokerage firm Triplemint to find out what happens when a hot new neighborhood bursts out of nowhere and demands the world’s attention.

What’s happening in NYC real estate

New York real estate has a lot going on right now. Amazon’s HQ2 nearly set up shop in Long Island City, Queens, before abruptly backing out of the deal. And speaking of flip-flopping, Williamsburg is officially back on the map after Governor Cuomo’s reversal of the decision to shut down the L train, a crucial means of access to the neighborhood.

But the neighborhood everyone’s talking about is not a result of the booming e-commerce marketplace or better public transportation. It’s a result of a complete reimagining of what’s possible in New York City.

Hudson Yards, which will span 28 acres by 2024, is the largest private real estate development in U.S. history. And at $25 billion, it’s also the most expensive.

Hudson Yards: From humble beginnings…

To find that much unused-but-usable land in Manhattan, real estate firm The Related Companies had to go where no one else was looking. Specifically: the West Side Yard, a storage and maintenance yard for Long Island Rail Road trains.

“They took a massive piece of real estate and literally built a platform over it,” explained Lang. “And as a result, they’ve created an expansive mixed-use development—office buildings, retail, tons of condos and rentals. It’s really exciting.”

Before ground was broken on the development, Hudson Yards was truly nothing to write home about. On the west side of Manhattan bordering the Hudson River, the area had a couple of outdated office buildings, but didn’t exactly feel homey. “It was never desirable,” Lang said. “It really didn’t have a lot going on.”

…to a high-end future

The Related Companies broke ground at 10 Hudson Yards in 2012. The first phase of construction is slated to wrap up by March 15, 2019, with the second phase aiming at completion by 2024.

One of the reasons the neighborhood shot up so quickly and successfully is due to its prime location. Hudson Yards is located between 10th and 12th avenues from West 30th to West 34th Street, bordered by Chelsea, Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen, chic ‘hoods home to art galleries, vibrant nightlife and renowned restaurants.

In 2015, the No. 7 Subway line was extended to Hudson Yards, easing its isolation from civilization. Lang said he would advise anyone eyeing a relocation to keep in mind that there is only one train that runs to the area, so it’s best suited for those with a simple work commute. “It’s a really fantastic place to live if you are working near there,” he explained.

Fittingly, Hudson Yards has easy access to the High Line, a public green space built on a historic elevated freight line that’s popular for local strolls and tourist sightseeing. The neighborhood is also on the West Side Highway, so drivers and hailers of cabs can easily get around despite the limited public transportation. And, added Lang, “If you’re taking a helicopter, there’s also a helipad.”

The revamped Hudson Yards has even transformed the New York City skyline by contributing 30 Hudson Yards, the second tallest skyscraper in the whole city. Major technology companies and financial firms including JPMorgan, Google Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, BlackRock, TimeWarner, CNN, Wells Fargo, HBO, and the global investment firm KKR have already set up shop in Hudson Yards or plan to soon.

“I think what’s really exciting is that this is the first new neighborhood in New York in a long time, and it’s from scratch,” said Lang, adding that Hudson Yards is its own category in this way. “It’s really unprecedented in terms of dining, walkability, and all the new places to go. It’s not going to be the most affordable, but if you’re looking for that high-end feel, it’s really exciting.”