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Hudson Yards Update - Has the Mega Project Sustained Interest Following an Impressive Launch?

Ethan Chernofsky
July 11, 2019
Hudson Yards Update - Has the Mega Project Sustained Interest Following an Impressive Launch?

In April, we dove into the launch of NYC Mega Project Hudson Yards and found that the property’s launch was living up to the initial excitement. But while an initial jump is certainly worthy of praise, sustained excellence is the true measure of a project - especially one as highly anticipated as Hudson Yards. 

So we jumped back in to see if Hudson Yards has continued to live up to expectations or if the project has come back to earth. In our initial analysis, we judged only the first three weeks following launch. To expand, we looked into data from Hudson Yards and other key NYC sites from the launch date in early March through the end of June.

Sustained Success

One of the key elements that impressed upon the launch was the sustained interest that came off of the initial weekend and extended into the first three weeks. While traffic has yet to reach the peak of the third weekend, the location has managed to maintain strong visit rates throughout the spring before witnessing a rise in mid-June as the summer kicks off.

While there hasn’t been a peak that matches the initial launch excitement, the contextual performance is impressive. Hudson Yards has outperformed NYC’s Lower East Side mega project Essex Crossing and kept ahead of World Trade Center visits as well. The late June rise is also significant as it indicates the tourist appeal of the site and the potential to produce an exceptional impact in the summer.

While the performance has been impressive, the early potential to serve as a strong competitor to a location like Rockefeller Center has yet to materialize. This is heavily related to the central location of the latter, but also shows the importance of the further stages of the project’s roll out in the coming months and years. For Hudson Yards to reach the elite status of Rockefeller Center, it must become an urban centerpiece which necessitates more residential, retail and office space.

Grand Central Station data includes only visits that have a significant duration, and does not include much of the numbers of people who pass through for the purpose of the commute.

Tourism is Key

Another defining factor for Hudson Yards may be the ability to maintain its ‘must visit’ status. To this point, the site has seen impressive travel appeal as over 40% of US visits have come from outside the state of New York - all without enjoying a major tourist peak like the winter holiday season or summer vacation period. 

The appeal is key because it focuses heavily on the seasonal trends that could elevate the status of Hudson Yards and its potential. Sites like Rockefeller Center and others see a new peak begin to form in June that drives significant summer visits. Should Hudson Yards prove effective at delivering on this same promise the area could boast a unique potential that can drive off and on peak visits with equal capacity.

What’s Next?

Hudson Yards is one of the rare projects that followed up huge excitement with a major initial impact. Yet, for the project to sustain interest and reach its full potential, it must prove capable of driving tourist interest. Additionally, the next phases of the project need to provide the environment for high visit rates on a daily and weekly basis throughout the year. This means more residential, more retail and, perhaps most importantly, more office space - things that are being planned for Phase 2.

Can future phases help Hudson Yards reach even higher? We’ll keep on top of the data to find out.

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