West Side Rail Yards Proposal No. 5: The Speyers Go Roman

The Tishman Speyer plan looks, in comparison to Extell’s eclecticism or Brookfield’s urbanism, downright conservative (or, if you prefer, stately). It is not enormously high (about 1,000 feet), and is almost perfectly symmetrical along an east-west axis. The towers grow progressively smaller as they move to the west.

Its edge comes from the money behind it: the Speyers joined up with Morgan Stanley in a 50-50 partnership, and the investment bank will own its own 3-million-square-foot building. That’s the one in the right rear in the above picture. The fountain area is called “The Forum”; in the foreground stands what Tishman-Speyer/Morgan Stanley is calling “The New York Steps.”

Having a bank as a main tenant is nothing like having an international, multimedia company around, nor even a sexy magazine publisher, but maybe that’s what people are talking about when they compare the greater Hudson Yards neighborhood to Canary Wharf in London. With just 3,000 apartments (300 of which are affordable) and 10 million square feet of office, Tishman Speyer’s proposal leans more heavily commercial than any of the others. Despite the fact that financial firms work around the clock, somehow this bid does not seem like it will do much for the nightlife along the Hudson.

The designer, Helmut Jahn, has done sweeping statements for Jerry Speyer before–consider the Sony Center in Berlin–and maybe he will here again, after the bid gets through committee.

“We think that by having our tenant and partner pretty much guarantees the success of the project,” Mr. Speyer said. “We have a tenant. We have the capital. We’re ready to buy the land and to do what needs to be done.”

West Side Rail Yards Proposal No. 5: The Speyers Go Roman