It's finally here. A glitzy 1 million square feet of retail space opens at the Hudson Yards development in New York on Friday, promising to offer city dwellers and tourists alike a shopping experience unlike your traditional neighborhood mall.
The shops — built by two of the world's largest real estate developers, Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group — are meant to appeal to shoppers on both the high and low end: ranging from apparel retailers Uniqlo, H&M, Zara and Athleta to luxury shops Dior, Fendi, Cartier and Tiffany. The property is anchored by Dallas-based department store chain Neiman Marcus. And it even has an area devoted to brands like men's athleisure company Rhone, tech hub b8ta, shoemaker M.Gemi and men's underwear retailer Mack Weldon, that were all born on the internet.
Hungry? Hudson Yards has nearly as many unique food options — cocktail bars, a Spanish food hall, craft coffee shops, and eateries run by celebrity chefs Thomas Keller and David Chang — to offer as it does retail. Need to relax? A company called 3DEN has a space inside Hudson Yards where you can go take a nap on a Casper mattress, meditate on yoga mats, swing (yes, on an actual swing), grab a quick shower or take a phone call in a sound-proof booth.
The entire Hudson Yards development, which amounts to 18 million square feet on Manhattan's West Side, is also going to be home to businesses like marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk's VaynerMedia, CNN, SAP, Warner Bros., Tapestry and L'Oreal — all of which have either already opened up their headquarters there, or are in the process of doing so. One-bedroom apartments in luxury residential buildings nearby are going for at least $5,000 per month. And then, high-end fitness chain Equinox will open its first hotel ever, complete with its biggest gym for members ever, at Hudson Yards in June. As workers and residents fill in, Related and Oxford have hoped that will bring foot traffic to the shops and restaurants.
"What made us think we could do this? We had to ask it of ourselves first. We did a ton of research," said Webber Hudson, an executive vice president at Related Urban, a division within Related. He helped curate the mix of tenants at this new shopping destination. "The most powerful piece of evidence for me was a map," Hudson said. It was a map Related drew up that showed most retail in Manhattan has long been concentrated in Midtown or along the East Side. "There was a complete void in the market."
It's been reported that the Hudson Yards project received nearly $6 billion in tax breaks and other government assistance, double what Amazon was supposed to receive in incentives to come and set up an office in Queens. (Amazon has since said it won't be moving to New York.) That means there's a lot riding on this development.
Some local real estate agents remain skeptical the retail there will succeed. Just a short cab ride downtown in Manhattan, Westfield World Trade Center and Brookfield Place have struggled to draw shoppers. Saks recently shut its women's department store at the latter.
Here's a first look at all there is to see and do at Hudson Yards.