I checked out the newly opened Hudson Yards joining crowds of weekend curiosity seekers. There was a four-hour online wait to get a pass for climbing the stairway-to-nowhere sculpture christened the Vessel, and super-friendly staff were everywhere in the plaza and mall to direct folks around and through the class-A+, mixed-use edifice extravaganza of sparkling glass, shiny steel and glistening marble. Necks craned to look up at the differently shaped and arced towers, rising over the plaza, and take pictures of reflecting light on and off the weaving staircase structure and buildings. Most came and gawked and left without doing much shopping from all appearances. The office buildings and multi-million-dollar apartments lording above were naturally off limits. An observatory deck will be a coming attraction.

Afterwards I headed uptown to Columbus Circle and Time Warner Center, on reflection the inspiration and model for the new project. Hudson Yards is really Time Warner Center on steroids–office and residential towers rising off and around a retail pedestal anchored by luxury stores and restaurants manned by world class chefs. Instead of space for a Jazz at Lincoln Center, Hudson Yards features the Shed, its own performance arts building. Time Warner has sculptures and public art, ditto Hudson. The marble floors may be from a different quarry, but the look and feel are the same, no surprise since Hudson Yards and Time Warner were developed by Steve Ross and Related. Will one success lead to another? That’s not so clear. Ross and company certainly stand to profit in the short term and the city will recoup all its tax subsidies at some point. Who can argue that erecting a mini city in its own right on top of underutilized rail yards is a big win?  But will the project stand the test of time given the ambition of the country’s largest mixed-use development?

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Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.

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