Build It and They Will Come, Hopefully. Hudson Yards, New York.
Hudson Yards, a mixed-use business, residential and shopping development, opened on the West Side of Manhattan on Friday amid much fanfare. Deservedly so perhaps as just a few stats serve to illustrate. This one has a tower that will boast the ‘western hemisphere’s highest observation deck’ (1,100 ft up in the air), a spend in excess of $25bn and 1m sq ft of new retail and dining space, in a city where shoppers already have a lot to choose from.
What sets it apart from others perhaps is that it is an instance of something that used to be commonplace: ‘build it and they will come’. These days, many retailers are struggling to get out of their obligations as far as units in major malls are concerned, but Hudson Yards opens with a full tenant roster and New York’s first Neiman Marcus department store (three floors and 188,000 sq ft) serving as the scheme’s anchor.
There is a lot to be said for combining design, architecture and retail and nowhere is this more the case this year so far than at lower Manhattan’s West Side.