Receiving the ‘mega-project’ distinction, Hudson Yards is being touted as one of the most ambitious real estate endeavors in New York - and the country. The project’s recent launch was met with a mix of excitement and skepticism, with proponents of the latter showing concern whether New York really had a need for a new luxury center in a city already known for having them en masse.
However, data analyzing the initial launch has shown significant promise that this location will surpass the lofty expectations. If so, the ripple effect could be enormous, with developers from other major cities viewing the project as an example for how the future might look.
Let’s take a look at the data.
Strong Launch, Sustained Excitement
The first three weekends since the launch - from March 11th to March 25th - have seen traffic of over 120,000 visitors each weekend from US visitors. This puts the site on par with legendary attractions like Central Park and Rockefeller Center, with Hudson Yards even managing to outperform Central Park, Times Square and Rockefeller Center on Saturday, March 30th. This initial buzz is critical as it reflects the excitement for a project of this magnitude.
However, more important is the ability to sustain this interest over time, and thus far, Hudson Yards has demonstrated the capacity to do just so. Each weekend following the launch, the site saw increases in foot traffic of 1.6% and 2.4% respectively week over week. These jumps indicate growth of thousands of visitors to the location, reflecting an ability to drive increased interest. This is particularly impressive when taking into account the poor weather during those time periods.
Hudson Yards Attracts Visitors From Afar
One key metric to understanding the long term viability of a project as a ‘must visit’ location is whether it has travel appeal. Ideally, a project would see a healthy mix of local interest combined with a growing percentage of visitors making the trip from greater distances. Based on data from the first four weekends of operations, this is exactly what is being seen. The percentage of visitors travelling from beyond 30 miles to Hudson Yards increased to 28% on the weekends of March 25th and April 1st, an increase of over 47% compared to opening weekend.
The growing reach is also going far beyond locals with New Jersey, California and Florida amounting to 32.1%, 12.3% and 7.4% of the non-NY visitors. The high levels of non-local visits further indicate that the project is quickly establishing itself as a ‘must visit’ site.
Another key factor that will determine the ongoing success of the project, and therefore the magnitude of its wider impact, is the type of audience Hudson Yards manages to reel in. To this point, Hudson Yards has been positioned as a luxury project with retail, dining and entertainment partners that target this affluent demographic. And thus far, the promise has been met.
37% of the visitors to Hudson Yards over the first three weekends have an average annual income of above $100,000. This aligns effectively with the clientele that retailers like Neiman Marcus, Cartier and Coach are looking to reach. Additionally, visitors aren’t calling it a day after a visit to the Hudson Yards giving the project a uniquely powerful waterfall effect. Over 90% of visitors to Hudson Yards also visited the High Line over the first three weeks following the launch. Other major sites like Central Park had a 15% overlap, even though there is a considerable distance between them.
Hudson Yards is a hugely ambitious project, but early returns are showing that it may be capable of surpassing even lofty expectations. The ongoing ability to sustain this traffic and support retail, tourist and culinary tenants will go far in determining whether this project set off other similarly aggressive ideas in major US cities.
About Placer.ai data
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