Far West Side To Be City Within A City, With A Building Larger Than Empire State

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They call it the development of New York City’s final frontier.

Ground was broken Tuesday on a $15 billion project to build a glittering new mini-city on top of the Hudson Rail Yards. It will shift the city skyline and create an entire new neighborhood from the ground up, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

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“Today we formally start the most ambitious construction project in the history of New York,” developer Steve Ross said.

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Ross wasn’t kidding. Ground was broken on a 26-acre site on the far West Side — the largest undeveloped site in New York — to create a new neighborhood from scratch, a city within a city, with apartments, more office space than exists in Portland, Ore., a cultural center, and an observation deck shaped like a space ship. There will be a building taller than the Empire State Building and a statue bigger the Statue of Liberty.

“As our country faces challenging economic times and increasing divisiveness, we in New York not only know how to dream big but to achieve things that were never thought possible,” Ross said.

The project is going up above the rail yards. The Bloomberg administration has worked on the project for years, including self-financing an extension of the “7” subway line, so there would be transit service for the new neighborhood.

“It is one of the largest private development projects ever undertaken in the country,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

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And in a difficult economy it will create 23,000 construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs once it is finished. The mayor said project is “another major aspect in our city’s ongoing economic revival.”

“Ever since this project was conceived in wake of the defeat of the Jets stadium for that site, it’s always been seen as the next Rockefeller Center neighborhood in New York,” Crain’s New York business contributor Greg David told WCBS 880’s Kyle Reitan. “If all goes well, it will be.”

The project ends years of negotiations between developers, the community and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the rail yards and is leasing development rights for more than $1 billion.

“It’s going to be something you’ve rarely ever seen in New York — the creation of  a new neighborhood, a place where people are going to live a new place, where people are going to school, where they’ll raise their children and they’ll actually work,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

The first tower is slated to be completed sometime in 2015.

The extension of the 7 line to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue is scheduled to open in 2014, before the first tenants move in.

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