By Brian J Pape, AIA, LEED-AP
Oxford’s development along West Street, across from the Pier 40 and Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) headquarters, was originally the 1930s St. John’s Terminal for the New York Central freight railroad viaduct (now the High Line). It will soon be an industrial-loft-type office building when nine stories are added above an existing three-story structure south of Houston Street, totaling 1.3 million square feet. 8,500 Google employees may join their other co-workers in Manhattan if the giant tech company closes a lease at the new site.
The site currently has a manufacturing zoning, which allows office use and hotels but does not allow residential use; it will use only the “as of right” FAR (floor area ratio) under the original zoning allowance. Rick Cook, founding partner of COOKFOX, said of the design, “By opening the site with the removal of the overpass and incorporating the rail beds, we’re connecting the building with the neighborhood and at the same time creating a workplace that is connected with nature.”
Atlas and Westbrook retained the part of the property north of Houston Street, using the 200,000 square feet of development air rights purchased from HRPT’s Pier 40. The tallest tower was slated to rise 430 feet according to the previously approved plan.