By Brian J. Pape, AIA, LEED-AP
As we reported in last month’s issue, 550 Washington Street is quickly moving forward after years of trial and error. And a prediction by Dean Shapiro, Oxford’s vice president of real estate, appears to be coming true: Hudson Square (as the neighborhood is called) is attracting an “educated, technically savvy, generally young workforce.”
8,500 Google employees may join their colleagues in Manhattan if the giant tech company closes a lease at the new St. John’s Terminal. You may recall our earlier reports about Google’s current headquarters (purchased in 2010) at 111 Eighth Avenue across from Chelsea Market which houses 7,000 Googlers, and the 3,500-employee expansion after Google’s $2.4 billion purchase of 300,000 square feet in Chelsea Market, and 250,000 square feet to be leased at the Pier 57 restoration (a landmarked property at West 15th Street).
When considering all that with the breaking news that Amazon will be expanding with their “HQ2” in Long Island City, New York City is growing its tech footprint. From the preliminary TF Cornerstone schematics of the HQ2 site, this is primarily an office building project for 12,000 to 25,000 workers with some retail and services at street level overlooking the East river.
The Oxford Properties development along West Street across from the Pier 40 and Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) headquarters, in the original 1930s terminus for the High Line freight railroad viaduct, will be an industrial loft-type office building with the addition of nine stories above the existing three-story structure totaling 1.3 million square feet. The site currently has a manufacturing zoning which allows for office use and hotels but not for residential use.
Founding partner Rick Cook at COOKFOX, architects for the new designs, explained, “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.”
Oxford Properties Group, the real-estate arm of Ontario’s municipal employee pension plan, bought the southern part of the three-block-long property in January 2018 from Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group for about $700 million. Oxford is not new to New York real estate. The Hudson Yards is a mixed-use project developed by Oxford and Related Companies, including 10 Hudson Yards (the first to open its doors) and their 90-story office tower at 30 Hudson Yards. 35 Hudson Yards topped out at 1,009 feet high, and 50 Hudson Yards at 1,011 feet. Finally, 15 Hudson Yards, their new residential tower, will have NYC’s tallest residential roof deck, “Skytop,” at more than 900 feet high.
Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group retained the block between Clarkson and Houston Streets, and with that end of St. John’s demolished there could be a potential residential tower previously reviewed.
Brian J. Pape, AIA, LEED-AP, is an architectural consultant in private practice, serves on Community Board 2 in Manhattan, is co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee, and is the WestViewNews.org Architectural Editor.
Oxford’s reconstruction of St. John’s Terminal has attracted Google as a potential tenant. West Street and Hudson River Park are on the right foreground, and the new 160 Leroy Street is at far left. Credit: COOKFOX Architects.