NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Brookfield Office Properties' ( BPO) seven million square foot Manhattan West development is positioned at the gateway of Manhattan's latest hot spot, the Hudson Yards District. Brookfield is using an innovative technology called "The Launcher" to create new ground above Penn Station's Amtrak and NJ Transit railroad tracks as it develops the new project. TheStreet's Jill Malandrino and Adam Leverone got exclusive access to the fascinating site that will become NYC's next go-to destination.
Manhattan West is a five-acre, $5 billion complex bound by ninth and 10th avenues and West 31st and West 33rd streets. The massive development is designed to bring together commerce, lifestyle, recreation and transportation on the new West side, including a boutique five-star hotel, health and fitness facilities, rooftop gardens, restaurants and cafes.
Brookfield Office Properties is a commercial real estate corporation that owns, manages and develops premier assets in some of the world's hottest markets. The company's properties are part of the skylines in cities such as New York, Washington D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Calgary, London, Sydney and Perth.
(from left) Brookfield's Philip Wharton, SVP Development and Henry Caso, VP of Manhattan West Construction.
Caso explains that the centerpiece of Manhattan West is a two-acre, 60,000-square-foot public plaza, which will be the destination for events, art installations and performances of all types. The development aims to create unique and special experiences for the local community, tenants and international visitors.
Wharton and TheStreet's Jill Malandrino take in the view of the five acre site.
Brookfield utilizes post-tension precast segmental bridge technology to build a deck over these tracks leading into Penn Station, allowing for the construction of the office towers without disrupting the passage of the trains.
A special piece of equipment, designed solely for this project, hoists and delivers the segments, which weigh 56 tons each to The Launcher.
The Launcher lifts and places pre-cast concrete segments piece-by-piece across open railroad tracks that go in and out of Penn Station, building the deck with the trains below.
Wharton, Caso and Malandrino look east to where the initial slabs are being placed to cover the train tracks leading into Penn Station.
Each slab has 17 holes, through which 32 pieces of steel cable, or post tensioning, are hydraulically pulled to connect them. There is enough cable for the Manhattan West project to draw a line from NYC to Chicago.
Inside one section of the bridge span. The wooden boxes cover lighting fixtures that will be placed inside the train tunnels, serving as a method to change light bulbs from the outside instead of on the tracks.
Construction of the deck is expected to be completed in 2014, positioning the project to receive tenants in 2016. In just a few short years, Manhattan West will boast two new premium-grade office towers, a luxury residential tower, retail and a two-acre park.
-- Written by Jill Malandrino.