Monday LEEDoff: MTA Selects Related Companies to Develop Hudson Yards

Related has won the right to develop the Hudson Yards mega-project, beating out Tishman Speyer.

Tishman Speyer’s loss is now the Related Companies’ gain. The MTA announced today that it has selected Related and Goldman Sachs to develop Hudson Yards into a $1 billion mixed-use neighborhood that will revolve around a central nine-acre grand plaza similar in concept to Tishman’s proposed “New York Steps.” According to the New York Observer, Tishman hesitated to commit to the MTA’s terms because it had no anchor tenant for the project- making the deal extremely risky given the murky financial markets.

Related’s thirteen-building proposal had initially contemplated a 2 million-square-foot headquarters tower for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which would have moved into the development from its current base at 1211 Sixth Avenue; News Corp. backed out of the project in March. Related will still seek LEED Gold for the project (pursuant to the MTA’s RFP), though no specific details are available regarding whether that rating will be for individual towers or a broader LEED-ND application for the entire project.

Related’s proposal calls for 60 more affordable housing units (440) than Tishman’s (379), though still not as many as the Vornado/Durst bid. The developer has experience with green projects; four of its New York City residential buildings (including the Upper West Side’s Harrison) are pursuing LEED ratings or otherwise implementing sustainable design features, and Related has over $6 billion in green development underway across the globe.

Specific details on its green initiatives are still lean, but Related’s initial sustainable strategy for Hudson Yards includes two co-generation plants and numerous water conservation measures, including green roofs and graywater systems. The development will also include a “Sustainability Scoreboard” and tours of the project’s green features from “Sustainability Rangers.” Related will also fund a $100 million “signature cultural facility” and preserve 55 percent of both the Eastern and Western Rail Yards as public open space.

We were pleased- more or less- with the MTA’s decision to choose Tishman, though we joined a number of community organizations in expressing concern over that bid’s lack of affordable housing. Details on the Related plans are still emerging, so we’ll reserve more detailed thoughts for a follow up post. A special meeting of the MTA Board will convene this Thursday to approve the deal. In the interim, images and press releases are all available via the links below.

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One Response to Monday LEEDoff: MTA Selects Related Companies to Develop Hudson Yards

  1. Ryan Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 9:13 am #

    According to the NY Times, News Corp dropped out of the deal with Related in March, before the MTA awarded the project to Tishman.

    So as of now, Related is going into this without an anchor tenant.

    They have some protections against recession and inability to find tenants written into their lease, they would be allowed two years of rent abatement (with penalties of course).