Hudson Yards, NYC’s $25 billion neighborhood, was financed with more than $1 billion that was meant for ‘distressed’ urban areas. Here’s a look inside the glitzy development.

A Cartier store at the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.

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A Cartier store at the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.
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Katie Warren/Business Insider

  • Hudson Yards, NYC’s new $25 billion neighborhood, was financed with at least $1 billion through EB-5, an investor visa program intended to combat urban poverty, according to a new report from CityLab.
  • As of March 15, the public can now visit the Vessel, a 150-foot tall, climbable sculpture in the center of Hudson Yards that cost $200 million to build.
  • The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a luxury shopping center with stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior, are now open as well.
  • I got to spend the day at Hudson Yards for its grand opening. Here’s what it looks like, from the $200 million climbable sculpture to the 7-story luxury shopping center.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Hudson Yards officially opened on March 15.

At $25 billion, it’s the most expensive real-estate development in US history – but reporting from CityLab shows that it got more than $1.2 billion in financing from EB-5, an investor visa program intended to combat urban poverty.

“This program enables immigrants to secure visas in exchange for real estate investments,” wrote Kriston Capps for CityLab.

“EB-5 is supposed to be a way to jumpstart investment in remote rural areas, or distressed urban ones,” Capps continued. Because the Hudson Yards area does not qualify as a distressed urban area, he continued, The Related Companies – the developer behind Hudson Yards – managed to link the boundaries of Hudson Yards to Harlem, where the employment rate is, in parts, low enough to qualify as a distressed urban area.

“By utilizing the EB-5 program we were able to finance the critical infrastructure for the project, the platform, where traditional financing is all but non-existent in the post-recession, post Dodd-Frank marketplace,” a spokesperson for Hudson Yards told Business Insider.Hudson yards

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Google Maps

“This capital, which comes at no cost to the American taxpayers, was the catalyst for the Hudson Yards project and allowed us to immediately create thousands of jobs all over the city,” the spokesperson continued.

The spokesperson claimed that Hudson Yards would provide “direct benefits to areas of high unemployment” despite being some 70 city blocks and nearly 5 miles from the southern end of Harlem, where the actual high unemployment exists.

The public can now visit the brand-new neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side, which includes luxurious residential towers, a luxury shopping center with stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior, and a $200 million, 150-foot tall climbable sculpture called the Vessel.

I went to the grand opening ceremony at Hudson Yards and spent the day there. Here’s what it looks like.


Hudson Yards, New York City’s $25 billion neighborhood, is officially open to the public. On March 15, I attended the grand opening ceremony in the central plaza.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

To get there, you take the 7 train to the Hudson Yards stop, a new station that opened in 2015.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Curbed


If you turn your back on the glossy new skyscrapers as you walk down the West Side Highway to Hudson Yards, you can see the remaining visible rail yards just across the street.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

People gathered in Hudson Yards’ central plaza for the morning’s opening event. Chairs and a stage were set up for the planned performances and speeches from notable New Yorkers.

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I saw some noteworthy individuals including David Childs, the architect who designed 35 Hudson Yards, one of the development’s luxurious residential towers.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Childs also designed One World Trade Center.


Musician Andra Day performed …

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

… and CNN’s Anderson Cooper told the crowd about how his company will eventually be moving into a Hudson Yards office.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

After some words from the major real estate players involved in Hudson Yards and Senator Chuck Schumer, most of the crowd headed over to climb up Vessel.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Vessel is a 150-foot tall climbable sculpture that cost $200 million to build.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Curbed


Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the structure is made up of 154 interconnected stairways, nearly 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Curbed


It’s free to visit, but you’ll still need to reserve a time slot online.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


Standing on Vessel offers a clear view of Hudson Yards’ towers, including 35 Hudson Yards, one of the luxurious residential buildings where condos start at $5 million.

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35 Hudson Yards.
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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Across the plaza is 15 Hudson Yards, another brand-new residential tower where condos range from $4.3 million to $32 million.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Looking north, you can see that some parts of Hudson Yards are still construction zones.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

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

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Crain’s


Looking east, you can see the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a seven-story, one-million-square-foot luxury shopping center with more than 100 shops, cafés, and restaurants.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


On the south side of the courtyard is the Shed, Hudson Yards’ performing arts space that will feature artists in fields including hip hop and classical music, theater, dance, and more.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


The structure’s outer shell will be able to glide back along rails onto an adjoining plaza. It’s not yet finished, but once it’s open, it will be able to accommodate a seated audience of 1,250 people or more than 2,000 standing.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


I climbed back down Vessel to join the crowds that had gathered in the courtyard.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

My next stop: the Shops.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

The seven-story shopping center, which the developers prefer to call a “vertical shopping experience” rather than a mall, includes dozens of luxury boutiques, from Cartier …

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Marketwatch


… to Kate Spade and Coach …

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… to Fendi.

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The shopping center is also home to New York City’s first Neiman Marcus department store.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Forbes


The focus of the center seems to be on retail …

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… but there are also several bars, cafés, and restaurants, including one from acclaimed chef Thomas Keller.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


Hudson Yards was already bustling with people on its opening day.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

People were taking advantage of the new public space in the mild weather.

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As I left, I passed the side of 35 Hudson Yards that will soon be the entrance to the world’s first Equinox hotel.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

I also passed the still-under-construction 30 Hudson Yards, which will eventually house companies such as Warner Media, which includes CNN.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


As I walked toward the 7 train, construction cranes made it clear that Hudson Yards still has a way to go before it becomes the “city within a city” that it hopes to be.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards