The billionaire behind Hudson Yards, the most expensive real-estate development in US history, says it’s ‘not a neighbourhood for the rich’

Hudson Yards is the most expensive real-estate development in US history. When it’s finished, the $US25 billion development will include luxurious residential towers, office spaces, a school, a luxury mall with high-end boutiques and restaurants, a $US200 million art installation, public gardens, a performing-arts space, and the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.

Condos start at $US4.3 million and can cost upwards of $US32 million.

Hudson Yards, with its glossy luxury boutiques and sky-high price tags, has faced criticism from some who see it as a neighbourhood made only for the ultra-wealthy and has earned nicknames including a “playground for billionaires” and “a mall for the wealthy.” Justin Davidson of New York Magazine called Hudson Yards “a billionaire’s fantasy city.”

But the billionaire behind the massive real-estate project disagrees with that characterization.

Hudson Yards is “not a neighbourhood for the rich,” Stephen Ross, the chairman of The Related Companies, the real-estate firm that’s the developer of Hudson Yards, said in an interview with Forbes. “It’s not a separate enclave.”

Hudson yards
The mall at Hudson Yards. Katie Warren/Business Insider

Ross is worth more than $US10 billion, according to Bloomberg, and Forbes estimates that his Related Companies has developed $US30 billion worth of properties worldwide. Ross is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins.

In the Forbes interview, Ross said Hudson Yards’ mall offers affordable options for eating and shopping, such as Shake Shack, H&M, and Zara.

The mall also includes the city’s only Neiman Marcus, along with restaurants like TAK Room from Thomas Keller, the chef behind the Michelin-starred Per Se.

Luxury lifestyles in Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards currently has two luxury condominium towers: 15 Hudson Yards and 35 Hudson Yards. At 15 Hudson Yards, residences start at $US4.3 million and go up to $US32 million.

Read more: I toured the first residential building to open in Hudson Yards, NYC’s new $US25 billion neighbourhood – and it was clear it’s selling much more than just real estate

15 hudson yards penthouse
A penthouse at 15 Hudson Yards. Katie Warren/Business Insider

Its neighbour, 35 Hudson Yards, which its architect called “a city within Hudson Yards,” will include a 60,000-square-foot Equinox fitness center, the world’s first Equinox hotel, retail spaces, and at least one restaurant. Condos start at $US5 million and go up to at least $US28.5 million – and that’s not including the penthouses, which are not yet priced. Ross himself will be moving into one of the penthouses, he told Forbes.

At One Hudson Yards, Related Companies’ 33-story rental building that opened in 2017, available units range from $US8,805 to $US17,000 per month. At the nearby Abington House, the cheapest available apartment is a studio for $US3,410.

Of the 4,000 apartments that are planned for Hudson Yards,about 10% will be rented at below-market rates as part of the city’s affordable-housing program. These apartments, which will be open to those who make between about $US31,000 and $US62,000 per year, will rent for $US858 a month for a studio and up to $US1,350 a month for a two-bedroom, according to Curbed.

Hudson Yards opens to the public on Friday, but it’s only about half-finished, according to Crain’s. It’s expected to be completed by 2025.