NEW YORK CITY-The Hudson Square district is arguably best knownas a magnet for advertising, media, architectural and design firmsboth larger and smaller. As a case in point, Jack Resnick &Sons earlier this month announced that its 375,000-square-foot 250Hudson St. is nearing 100% occupancy, thanks to a pair ofexpansions by Gluckman Mayner Architects and the InternationalGroup of Cos., among the world’s largest advertising and marketingservices companies.

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Landlords such as Resnick and Trinity Real Estate have beenattracting tenants like these since the 1980s, when the ownersbegan converting massive, disused printing facilities intohigh-quality office space. In an interview with GlobeSt.com thispast spring, Ellen Baer, president of the Hudson Square Connection,called the neighborhood “the creative center of Manhattan.”

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Yet as the current year draws to a close, the Connection, abusiness improvement district launched in July 2009, looks back onthe past 12 months as a time of achievement in establishing thearea as a full-blown neighborhood. “We spent 2010 focusing onimmediate, easily achieved changes to the district that will leadto larger improvements down the road,” Baer says in a release. “Theneighborhood programming and traffic management improvements madethus far, combined with the relationships and connections we’veformed this past year have put Hudson Square on the map whilesetting the stage for 2011.”

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Among other things, over the past year the Connection selected adesign team, led by Matthew Nielsen Landscape Architects,responsible for producing a green streetscape that will includeopen spaces. The goal of the program, according to the BID, is isto “prioritize the environment for pedestrians, thereby enhancingretail opportunities while making connections between Hudson Squareand its neighboring districts.”

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Earlier this year, the Connection completed a traffic managementstudy to improve relations between Hudson Square pedestrians,Holland tunnel-bound drivers and local bicyclists. The Connectionalready has made a number of traffic management improvements, suchas bringing the city’s Department of Transportation and the PortAuthority of New York and New Jersey together to remove delineatorsthat interfere with crosswalks along Varick Street.

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To help generate business for area retailers, the Connection in’10 launched the Connection Card, a district-wide incentive programoffering local workers exclusive discounts and promotions atparticipating Hudson Square stores, restaurants and attractions.The program is a free benefit that encourages these employees tosupport the neighboring businesses in their area, according to theConnection.

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As part on an ongoing effort to make Hudson Square a moreeco-friendly area, the connection has planted 67 live trees to datethroughout the district. In addition, during the holiday season,the Connection decked Varick Street with dozens of fresh holidaytrees, with building tenants decorating them in ways thatrepresented the character of their businesses and the district.

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The past year also saw the unveiling of 50 new street banners,identifying the neighborhood and displaying the words “work,”“play” and “connect.” Additionally, the banners contain 2D scansthat, when photographed with a smartphone, lead to more informationabout Hudson Square. Finally, the BID launched a newwebsite and producedan informational DVD for the benefit of both brokers and potentialtenants.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.