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Director Golden, BPDA staff tour development projects and meet with planning and development officials in New York City

Apr 09, 2018

Last week, Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Director Brian Golden joined BPDA senior staff to tour development projects in New York City and meet with the BPDA’s counterparts in New York City’s Department of City Planning (DCP) to discuss best practices and shared experiences. The tour built on the BPDA’s goals to improve external partnerships for greater impact.

On Thursday, the group toured Hudson Yards, the Highline and Chelsea Market.  

Hudson Yards is considered to be the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. The  site layout and infrastructure is being funded and constructed through a set of agreements between New York State, New York City, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The agreements include the use of District Improvement Financing (DIF), ground lease rent, air rights revenue, payments in lieu of mortgage financing, and zoning density bonuses. The project aims to expand New York’s Midtown Manhattan Business District westward to the Hudson River.

The project includes a major rezoning of the Far West Side, an extension of the New York City Subway to bring trains to a new subway station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, and the renovation and expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The centerpiece of Hudson Yards is a 28-acre mixed-use real estate development being built over the West Side Rail Yard. Once complete, Hudson Yards is to consist of more than 18 million square feet of new office, residential, and retail space. Among its components will be six million square feet of commercial office space, a 750,000-square-foot retail center with two levels of restaurants, cafes, markets and bars, a hotel, The Shed, a new center for artistic invention, over 4,000 residences, a 750-seat school, and 14 acres of public open space. Hudson Yards is expected to accommodate 65,000 daily visitors once completed.

The Highline, opened in 2009, is a 1.45 mile elevated linear park, greenway and rail train created on a former New York Central Railroad spur.  Led by the landscape architecture firm of James Corner Field Operations, the abandoned spur has been redesigned as a living system drawing from landscape architecture, urban design and ecology,  

Chelsea Market fills an entire city block bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets.  Larger than the Empire State building, Chelsea Market is home to one of the world’s largest food and retail concourses. In addition, it also includes office space for tenants, including media and broadcasting companies such as Oxygen Network, Food Network,, BAMTech, EMI Music Publishing and the local New York City cable station NY1.

On Friday, the group toured the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a mission-driven industrial park that is home to over 330 businesses employing more than 7,000 people and generating over two billion per year in economic impact. Building on Brooklyn Navy Yard’s history as the economic heart of Brooklyn, the 300-acre, waterfront asset offers a critical pathway to the middle class for many New Yorkers. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) is the not-for-profit corporation that serves as the real estate developer and property manager of the Yard on behalf of its owner, the City of New York. BNYDC constantly strives to provide an environment in which businesses and careers can take root and grow. Industrial users are BNYDC’s highest priority. The BNYDC just completed a Master Planning exercise which projects growing to 500 businesses and 17,000 employees. The BNY includes three working dry docks. The BNY shares many similarities with the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP) and the Charlestown Navy Yard.

The tour concluded with meeting the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP). DCP is New York City’s primary land use agency and is instrumental in designing the City’s physical and socioeconomic framework. DCP’s ambition is to make all of New York a better place to live, to maintain what works and improve what doesn’t. BPDA and DCP staff discussed various re-zoning and neighborhood planning efforts, including the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Planning Study in the Bronx, planning efforts in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, as well as a follow-up conversation to the BPDA’s tour of Hudson Yards in Midtown Manhattan.

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