A fancy architect may not speak as loudly as cash, but it could give you an edge in the fight to lay claim to 26 acres of Manhattan real estate. Clearly, that’s the thought of a number of the developers who are working on proposals for the Western Rail Yards, which are due at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s offices by 5 p.m. today.
(Editor’s note: We got it right! The five bidders we profiled yesterday were in fact the winners in the first round of bids last night.)
We’ve scurried up a few notes about who has hired whom from sources connected to each of the proposals:
Brookfield Properties has formed a large team that includes the stalwart Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which has done its share of major civic buildings (Freedom Tower, Time Warner Center), along with the elfish Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which has the advantage of having co-designed The High Line, which will run right into the rail yards and, under this proposal at least, be saved.
Tishman Speyer has snagged Helmut Jahn, a German architect who has worked for Jerry Speyer before, in Berlin and London. (Their collaboration for the Coliseum site at Columbus Circle did not fare that well, however.)
The cosmopolite Cesar Pelli and the versatile FxFowle have been working for the partnership of the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust. Pelli, who designed Bloomberg LP’s tower for Vornado, just won another major civic competition in San Francisco, while FxFowle descends from the team that designed Douglas Durst’s 4 Times Square.
The Related Companies has tapped the worldly-wise Kohn Pedersen Fox, which must have gotten to know the western half of the site pretty well when it designed the ill-fated stadium for the Jets football team and the city’s 2012 Olympic bid three years ago.
Gary Barnett’s Extell Development, which has slowly warmed to the whole starchitect game, has commissioned Steven Holl, an idiosyncratic American designer. Mr. Holl’s Linked Hybrid in Beijing, pictured above, is uncannily close to the program called for on the rail yards, with a mixture of apartments, office space, a hotel, a movie theater and a kindergarten.