Developer Doubles Open Space in Plan for Manhattan West Towers

By Mathew Katz on February 7, 2014 3:05pm 

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  The proposed two-acre plaza will have retail and event space, the developer said.
Manhattan West Plaza
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HUDSON YARDS — More public space is coming to Brookfield Properties' massive $4.5 billion skyscraper complex on the West Side, the developer announced this week.

Brookfield Properties has filed a proposal to slightly change the zoning of its Manhattan West development to build just more than 2 acres of public plazas next to the towers. When the project is completed in 2020, it will be composed of five huge buildings between West 31st and West 33rd streets, from Ninth Avenue to Dyer Avenue, above a portion of the West Side Rail Yards.

Work has already begun on a platform above the yards, where a pair of 2 million-square-foot commercial skyscrapers will be built. Under the original plan for the space, the developer was only required to build 1.13 acres of public space.

The new proposed public space will be a series of plazas, including a platform built over Dyer Avenue that will allow pedestrians to enjoy the outdoors while vehicles pass beneath them to the Lincoln Tunnel.

"Brookfield prides itself on great place-making, not just developing buildings," said Sabrina Kanner, a senior vice president for the developer, at a recent meeting of Community Board 4.

The board gave its conditional support to the plan, though it encouraged Brookfield to keep the plazas open 24 hours a day, and not close them late at night.

The plazas were designed by James Corner Field Operations, the same firm that designed the High Line's iconic walkway.

A 10,080-square-foot Entry Plaza facing Ninth Avenue will greet visitors with trees, tables and chairs. A Central Plaza will extend between a pair of towers, from Ninth Avenue to Dyer Avenue, and will also be filled with trees.

"We see this very much as a lush garden landscape," said Keith O'Connor, an associate partner with James Corner Field Operations.

The Central Plaza will have an event space for concerts, art exhibits and performances, along with a 100-foot-wide retail pavilion. The event space will close for private events up to 12 times a year, Brookfield said.

On the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 31st Street, an 7,480 square-foot Art Plaza will show off artwork and sculptures approved by the city's Public Design Commission.

The open space plan will need approval from the City Planning Commission and the City Council before Brookfield can move forward.

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