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PHOTOS: Developer Builds Land Over Train Tracks on Manhattan's West Side

By Mathew Katz | July 22, 2014 2:33pm
  Brookfield is using a huge "horizontal crane" to build a platform over Amtrak rail yards. 
Manhattan West Construction Site
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HUDSON YARDS — A developer is building new land on the West Side of Manhattan using thousands of tons of concrete.

Brookfield Properties' $4.5 billion Manhattan West project is well underway, with workers laboring day and night to build a 2.6-acre, 120,000-square-foot platform above active railroad tracks.

The platform will eventually be home to two office towers that will stand at least 60 stories tall, plus public space, retail locations and possibly a luxury hotel.

"In essence, we're making land where land wasn't before," said Henry Caso, the project's director of construction.

Brookfield is using a massive $7 million horizontal crane called "The Launcher" to build the platform.

The 86-foot-tall machine spans the width of the construction site — nearly from West 31st Street to West 33rd Street — picking up each 56-ton concrete segment and putting them in place. The segments are each cast in Trenton, New Jersey, and trucked in over the George Washington Bridge.

The work goes on as trains continue heading through the site as they go in and out of Penn Station.

"We had to be a little innovative so we didn't disrupt traffic into the city," Caso said.

So far, seven of the 16 bridge spans are in place and Brookfield expects to complete the platform by the end of the year. Each span is composed of 39 segments, each weighing about the same as six subway cars, Brookfield said.

The two office towers will partially extend over the platform, but will be anchored in the bedrock surrounding the rail yards. Brookfield expects to complete the first tower by 2018.

Along with the towers, Brookfield plans to redevelop neighboring 450 W. 33rd St., building a 60-story residential tower, and hopes to build a five-star boutique hotel.

Brookfield also doubled open space at the project by rezoning the area earlier this year. In all, the developer will build slightly more than 2 acres of public plazas next to the towers.

The 24-hour work has drawn some complaints from neighbors living across the street who say late-night and early-morning noise is stopping them from sleeping. They have asked Brookfield to soundproof their apartments.