Hudson yards more bygone than future globest 2015 electricity rates


I checked out the newly opened Hudson Yards joining crowds of weekend curiosity gas outage seekers. There was a four-hour online wait to get a pass for climbing the stairway-to-nowhere sculpture christened the Vessel, and super-friendly staff were everywhere in the plaza and mall to direct folks around and through the class-A+, mixed-use edifice extravaganza of sparkling glass, shiny steel and glistening marble. Necks craned to look up at the differently shaped and arced towers, rising over the plaza, and take pictures of reflecting light on and off the weaving staircase structure and buildings. Most came and gawked and left without doing much shopping from all appearances. The office buildings and multi-million-dollar apartments lording above were naturally off limits. An observatory deck will be a coming attraction.

Afterwards I headed uptown to Columbus Circle and Time Warner Center, on reflection the inspiration and model for the new project. Hudson Yards is really Time Warner Center on steroids–office and residential towers rising off and around a retail pedestal anchored by luxury stores and restaurants manned by world class chefs. Instead of space for a Jazz at Lincoln Center, Hudson Yards features the Shed, its own performance arts building. Time Warner has sculptures and public art, ditto Hudson. The marble floors may be from a different quarry, but the look and feel are the same, no surprise since Hudson Yards and Time Warner were developed by Steve Ross and Related. Will one success lead to another? That’s not so clear. Ross and company certainly stand to profit in the short term and the city will recoup all its tax subsidies at some point. Who can argue that erecting a mini city in its own right on top of underutilized rail yards is a big win? But will the project stand the test of time given the ambition of the country’s largest mixed-use development?

Boosters suggest Hudson Yards hearkens back to the nonpareil Rockefeller Center. But Rockefeller electricity dance moms song Center’s Art Deco office buildings fit into the cityscape and its underground retail passages connect buildings from Seventh to Fifth Avenues. Even the more modest block-sized Time Warner Center helps knit together vibrant Upper West neighborhoods and nearby Lincoln Center to the midtown west business district and Broadway theater district. Hudson Yards tries a different tack to overcome being penned in by high trafficked West Street, the neighboring Javits Convention Center, and surrounding congested avenues accessing the Lincoln Tunnel. Rather than RockCen, it’s more reminiscent of John Portman’s fortress like Renaissance Center in Detroit–albeit Hudson is superbly executed with evident attention to quality and detail.

Like the RenCen concept, Hudson seems designed to stand apart, operating as a self-contained place rather than bleeding into and feeding off Manhattan’s special vibe and energy. Even its dead-end subway stop empties into the middle of the Vessel-dominated plaza, surrounded by the distinctive, overbearing skyscrapers, and focusing visitors on the ultra-upscale shopping mall entrance with the in-your-face branding of Cartier and Neiman Marcus. Its pied de terre residences, blue chip offices and luxury stores are priced for the very rich—excepting mandated token affordable housing units. Live, work and play here, but you need enough money, quite enough. Hudson Yards harbors the essence of what is happening to 24-hour urban America, only grossly magnified. Most of its upwardly mobile millennial workforce will still need to commute on the No. 7 train, many from gas and electric phone number outer-borough, up-and-coming places like Park Slope, Williamsburg and Long Island City or the upper West Side. And family-friendly this development is not. I don’t envision many strollers let alone jungle gyms in playgrounds. These residences are suited for out-of-city high rollers, who will soon be paying the state’s new second home tax to help close budget gaps from some of the generous tax subsidies provided developers.

Then there is the shopping mall itself—so un-New York and in the age of e-commerce so retro suburban, stripping all la gas leak the marble and glass aside. Without enough ultra-upscale international brand names to lease up one million square feet, Hudson’s vast corridors are filled in with the likes of Banana Republic, HM, Shake Shack and other familiar stores and concepts you already find all over town and in any mall USA. And if you are a Fifth Avenue or Park Avenue doyenne, who can actually afford to buy diamonds, pearls, and haute couture why would you schlepp over to the West 30s? Isn’t it more exclusive and satisfying to chauffeur to much larger signature flagship stores nestled nearby your neighborhood? And for tourists—do you want to traipse around another mall like back home or get the real New York experience of window shopping on Madison Avenue or in Soho? The same can be said for the restaurants. Hudson’s residents, executives and their guests will benefit from their proximity for fancy lunches and dinners. And certainly, New Yorkers will destination dine there once and while. But New York is overflowing already with three-and-four-star eateries manned by many chefs of the same order at Hudson. And you can get to your white-table clothed table elsewhere without smelling a whiff of hamburger and French fry grease on your way up an escalator. This is not a New York experience and I dare say some or more of the high-end stores will drift away over time.

The office towers are state of the art with all the LEED bells and whistles and highly flexible layouts on large floor plans. They have and will attract big name tenants out of midtown and financial district addresses in the latest game of office leasing musical chairs. At the same time, the trend lines continue to move toward companies using less office space per capita with employees working more from home and tech tenants wanting creative space in less traditional corporate-style environs. The icon headquarters office tower gas jobs pittsburgh retains its muscular charms for CEOs and managing partners holding onto their corner offices. But Hudson Yards possibly marks the last development burst for a while, representing more of a backwards glance than a leap to the future.

For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America’s major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet bp gas, the real estate news website.

Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980’s he managed relations for several of the country’s most prominent real estate developments including New York’s Trump Tower and the Equitable Center.