December 21, 2009Agreement on Western Rail Yard Sets Stage for Combined 12 Million Square Feet of Mixed-Use Development, including 1,300 Affordable Housing Units in Hudson Yards Area, and Creation of Tens of Thousands of Permanent and Construction Jobs
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and Related Hudson Yards President Jay Cross today announced an agreement for the re-zoning of the Hudson Yards' Western Rail Yard, marking the final public approval of the development plan. The Western Rail Yard project will consist of a 5.7 million square foot mixed-use development built on a platform over the Rail Yard. Today's agreement calls for the creation and preservation of nearly 1,300 affordable housing units - to which the City will contribute $40 million - in Manhattan's Community District 4, accounting for 20 percent of the roughly 6,000 total onsite housing units. Coupled with the 2005 rezoning of the Eastern Rail Yard, today's rezoning sets the stage for the creation of a 12 million-square-foot commercial and residential development site, including more than 10 acres of public open space, cultural amenities and a new public school. Both the Western Rail Yard and the Eastern Rail Yard will be developed by The Related Companies. Joining the Mayor at the announcement, which took place near the rail yards on 11th Avenue and 28th Street, were Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Assembly Members Richard N. Gottfried and Linda B. Rosenthal, Hudson Yards Development Corporation President Ann Weisbrod, City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero, 32BJ SEIU President Mike Fishman, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera.
"Today's historic agreement with the City Council marks the final re-zoning for the redevelopment of an area of Manhattan people have been talking about for decades," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With the re-zoning in place and the extension of the number 7 subway line on the way, the area is finally poised to become a vibrant new residential and commercial neighborhood with more than 10 acres of public open space, new cultural amenities and a new public school. In all, it will help create tens of thousands of permanent and construction jobs. Despite the national economic downturn, we're not going to stop moving forward on major economic development projects that create jobs and prepare the City for future growth, and the Hudson Yards is just one of many examples of projects moving forward throughout New York City."
"The City Council vote to approve the Western Rail Yards rezoning represents a significant victory for our community," said Speaker Quinn. "This rezoning reflects years of conversations, outreach and input from community members. Soon, thousands of New Yorkers will have the opportunity for new affordable housing and cultural space right in their neighborhoods. A rezoning of this magnitude that unlocks an unprecedented amount of developmental potential would only be tenable with a guaranteed affordable housing program. I want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to reach this agreement. I'm very proud of the progress and changes we made, and also very proud of the community, because they were the ones who made this happen."
"We have always shared the City's belief that the redevelopment of the West Side Yards was critical to the future growth of New York," said Jay Cross, President of Related Hudson Yards. "Today's approvals mark an important milestone in the creation of a unique 26-acre sustainable mixed-use development in a dynamic neighborhood overlooking the Hudson River, including over 10 acres of public open space linking the new Hudson Boulevard to the High Line and Hudson River Park, cultural amenities, a new public school and housing opportunities for all New Yorkers. Related has a long-standing commitment to affordable housing and we are especially proud to have been able to work collaboratively to create an array of affordable housing opportunities for various income levels. We want to acknowledge the vision of Mayor Bloomberg in recognizing the potential of this site and the leadership of Speaker Christine Quinn, Deputy Mayor Bob Lieber, City Planning Chair Amanda Burden and Community Board 4 whose immense focus and collaboration over the last several months has resulted in a substantially improved plan. We look forward to continuing to work with the City, MTA and community to make this vision a reality."
"With this rezoning of the Western Rail Yards, this undeveloped area will finally be able to reach its full potential for all New Yorkers," said Congressman Nadler. "This sensible rezoning plan will allow us to develop critical affordable housing and community space amidst the density of Manhattan's West Side. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for leading an inclusive and productive coalition of community members and elected officials to reclaim this underused asset."
"The final plan is a tremendous improvement over the original, primarily because it guarantees to create and preserve affordable housing for a community that really needs it," said Borough President Stringer. "Whether we're talking about affordable housing or the creation of new parks and cultural spaces, this project will ensure that construction over the Western Rail Yards will create New York's next great neighborhood."
"Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and Deputy Mayor Lieber all deserve thanks for working to bring permanent affordable housing to the Western Rail Yard site; create and preserve affordable housing in the wider community; secure an on-site school to help meet the needs of the influx of children the development will bring to the neighborhood; and rehabilitate public open space for neighborhood residents," said State Senator Thomas K. Duane. "I am pleased that the City, community organizations, and all stakeholders have come to an agreement that recognizes the vision laid out by Manhattan Community Board 4 in its thoughtful response to the Western Rail Yard ULURP applications. In the coming months, I will continue to work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to ensure it finds alternate accommodations for its office space so that the off-site permanent affordable housing associated with this development is maximized, and that we remain united and committed to this dynamic section of the West Side."
"By creating good jobs and affordable housing, the Hudson Rail Yards project stands as a model of responsible development for our city," said 32BJ SEIU President Mike Fishman. "It's in our common interest to make sure that all city projects are equitable and benefit the entire community."
"The Building and Construction Trades Council has been a supporter from the beginning of efforts to rezone and develop the Hudson Yards, and particularly the rail yards, because we know how important it is to accommodate the future growth of New York City," said Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera. "We are extremely pleased to be here today as we put another piece of this puzzle into place to allow thousands of jobs to be created at a time when providing economic opportunity is priority number one."
Located at the heart of the Hudson Yards area, the 13-acre Western Rail Yard is bounded by West 30th and 33rd Streets and 11th and 12th Avenues. The Western Rail Yard re-zoning plan includes a package of both on-site and off-site affordable housing. The on-site component consists of 431 new rental housing units across both yards as initially permanently affordable to New Yorkers earning up to 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI), or what is equal to an annual income of $46,100 for a family of four. The City will contribute $40 million for the creation of permanently affordable housing units at two City-owned properties in Manhattan's Community District 4 - one at West 48th Street and 10th Avenue and the other at West 54th Street and 9th Avenue. The off-site housing units which will be created or made permanently affordable through a combination of preservation and new construction, will be available at an income level of 80-165 percent AMI, or what is equal to $61,400 - $114,000 annually for a family of four. Related also committed to reserving 120,000 square feet of space for a new public school, 16,000 square feet of space for local cultural institutions or other local arts not-for-profits in two locations and 10,000 square feet of space for a child care center.
Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA announced earlier in the day the completion of the first phase of the Number 7 subway extension to the Hudson Yards. The second of two tunnel boring machines has reached the southern wall of the 34th Street Station cavern after mining a combined 2,900 feet from their starting point at 26th Street under 11th Avenue. The $2.1 billion project, funded by the City and managed by the MTA, is on schedule and expected to be complete by the end of 2013.