Coach Signs on as Hudson Yards' Anchor Tenant

By Mathew Katz on November 1, 2011 2:47pm 

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Billy Figueroa

HELL'S KITCHEN — After years of limbo, the Hudson Yards development has finally found itself an anchor tenant: luxury handbag maker Coach.

The deal between Coach and the project's developer, the Related Companies will become official once Coach representatives sign the lease, which is expected to happen soon, said those involved in the deal. It was announced Tuesday by scores of city officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

"This deal means that the market has spoken," Bloomberg said. "The far west side's economic potential is now becoming a reality."

Related and the city envision the 26-acre site, currently an MTA-owned rail yard, to be a massive new neighborhood, composed of new skyscrapers and about 13 million square feet of commercial and residential space. The development has been in the works for years, but has been delayed because of the economic downturn, despite tax breaks and zoning incentives provided by the city.

Coach will move about 1,600 employees from its nearby offices on West 34th Street to about a third of a 51-story tower on the northern end of the High Line, by the corner of West 30th Street and 11th Avenue.

Related expects to begin construction early next year, and the high rise should be ready for occupancy by 2015. Officials said they do not currently have a timeline for the rest of the construction, including a proposed school and affordable housing units.

"Coach will anchor a neighborhood that will be a dynamic hub of creativity and innovation," said Stephen Ross, chairman of Related, which will also be moving its headquarters to the new development.

Bloomberg praised the MTA for building the new extension of the 7 Train, which he said would help unlock the neighborhood to commuters. A new station is expected to open in December 2013 at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

"This is our economic future," Bloomberg said. "Mass transit really does open up this part of the city to construction and jobs and parks."

The mayor also announced that construction will begin next year on a new north-south avenue running between 10th and 11th Avenues between 30th and 42nd streets called Hudson Boulevard. The space is currently an open space over the MTA railyards which will have to have a platform built above it in order to support the development.

The entire complex may take more than a decade to complete, and is expected to bring new residences, hotel rooms, affordable housing, and a school to the area.

Residents demanded amenities including additional greenspace, schools and affordable when the area was originally rezoned in 2005, and Community Board 4 Chair Corey Johnson said Tuesday that he was confident they would come with construction finally getting underway.

Twenty percent of the rental units included in the current design plan are considered affordable housing, and a 750-seat school is slated to be included in the development. The design is subject to modification, said those affiliated with the project.

"I believe it will happen, and it's going to be a dynamic hub," Johnson said.

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