The transformation of Hudson Yards into a full-fledged neighborhood is still ongoing, but already several similar decking-over-railyards projects have been proposed across the city. Two of them have been proposed in the Bronx—one over a subway depot next to Lehman College, and a second near the Willis Avenue Bridge in Mott Haven. A third, more concrete proposal might actually be moving forward in Queens, and it’s one put forth by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
On Monday, the city’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released a feasibility study in regards to a planned, mostly residential development over the Sunnyside Yard.
The study is a follow up to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to build thousands of units of affordable housing on top of the massive rail yard, which he first announced at his state of the city address in early 2015.
Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his opposition to the project shortly afterward claiming that the owners of the site—the MTA, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit all had expansion plans that would interfere with any development in that area.
The results of the feasibility study are now looking to dispel those concerns. The study identified that about 80-85 percent of this 180-acre site is buildable with the use of decking, and highlighted three potential proposals, costing anywhere between $16 to $19 billion, on how best to move forward.
The first would see the creation of 18,000-24,000 apartments, 5,400-7,200 of which would be affordable (that’s about 30 percent of the overall development). That proposal would also create between 13-19 schools, 38-52 acres of open space, and retail.
Check out the rest of the scenarios below:
The study has identified a 70-acre area in the northeastern section of the Yard, owned by Amtrak, as an ideal spot for development that could create 15,000 apartments in that section, along with schools, retail, and open space. But as Governor Cuomo previously pointed out, the complicated aspect of this development is the fact that it’s owned by three different agencies, all of whom are pursuing projects in the Yard.
The area is predominantly used for storage, maintenance, and other essential rail operations, and the feasibility study stresses that the ongoing projects can continue to move forward and construction will not interfere with work at the site.
The city collaborated with Amtrak on the study, and is hoping that any construction efforts here can be coordinated with Amtrak’s work to reduce the impact on the rail yard. The city consulted with several agencies and architecture firms to carry out their study, and among them were FXFOWLE, which focused on urban design, Curtis+Ginsberg Architects, who looked at the affordable housing component, and James Corner Field Operations, which looked at landscape architecture.
Though no dates have been announced yet, the next step in the process would be to set up community feedback sessions and create a tentative outline of the planned development. Both Mayor de Blasio’s office and Governor Cuomo’s office did not return requests for comment.