CHELSEA — A massive $4.5 billion skyscraper development on Manhattan's west side was started Tuesday by Brookfield Properties.
The Manhattan West development, which will be built above part of the West Side Rail Yards, will consist of two commercial towers along with a third residential building built on land.
The whole complex will span the area along Ninth Avenue and Dyer Avenue, from West 31st to West 33rd streets, across from the future Moynihan Station transit hub.
Tuesday's work began construction of a platform that the two towers will sit on.
"We are literally today building a bridge," said John Zuccotti, Brookfield's chairman.
"On that bridge we will build the tallest building, a retail center, and residential housing as well."
The $680 million platform will be made up of a series of 16 bridges over the active rail yard and is expected to be completed in 2014. If all goes well, the project should be able to take on tenants in 2016.
The final Manhattan West development will consist of the pair of 2-million-square-foot office towers, the residential tower and 1.5 acres of public space.
"It is not only going to be a remarkable piece of engineering, it also takes us a big step forward in the transformation and rebirth of the far West Side of Manhattan," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg after he signed the first massive chunk of concrete that will make up the platform.
He added that a similar platform will soon be built just a few blocks away, as part of the Related Companies' Hudson Yards development over the West Side Rail Yards.
"Every part of the city is growing, but the West Side is doing it from bottom to top," he said.
Brookfield and Bloomberg touted the development as a job creator for the city, with 600 construction jobs generated during the construction of the platform, along with thousands of others when the towers are built.
"This is another great project that will create jobs, spur economic activity, and it's a great day for this city," Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said.
Manhattan West is one of many construction projects in the neighborhood. Along with Related's Hudson Yards development, which broke ground in December, roughly $6 billion in projects have been completed since the 2005 rezoning of the Hudson Yards area.