Wells Fargo helps Hudson Yards ‘expand the possible’
The company played a key role in turning the industrial remnants that comprised Hudson Yards into one of the most valuable properties in New York City.
Since it opened to the public in March 2019, Hudson Yards has quickly become one of New York City’s most exciting and innovative neighborhoods. Located on the far west side of Manhattan, the development transformed a former industrial area into 18 million square feet of office, retail, recreational, and residential space that has garnered high marks for sustainability and design.
“Hudson Yards took an area that was abandoned, dark, and underutilized for many years and made it one of the most valuable properties in the city of New York,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for NYC. “It brought jobs, new commercial buildings, amenities, a cultural center, and new shopping opportunities — all of which contribute to the city’s economy.”
Turning vision into reality
That the developers, Related Companies, and Oxford Properties Group were able to transform this underused area of Manhattan in just a few years is an impressive accomplishment. Making it even more remarkable is the fact that the project was built on top of an existing rail yard that continued operating throughout the construction. Related-Oxford had the vision for what this new neighborhood could become, and Wells Fargo has played a key role in making that vision a reality.
“Wells Fargo has been an instrumental partner in the building of Hudson Yards and the success we’ve had to date,” said Stacey Feder, chief marketing officer for Hudson Yards. “As a lender during construction, founding marketing partner, and corporate tenant, they have believed in Hudson Yards every step of the way.” Wells Fargo served as co-lead arranger with other banks for both a $690 million construction facility for 30 Hudson Yards and a $1.5 billion senior construction loan for 50 Hudson Yards. It also serves as trustee for $1 billion of bonds issued for the Hudson Yards development. For customers, Wells Fargo operates an onsite branch and will have 10 ATMs in the development as a founding partner and preferred bank.
Taking a risk
In addition to serving as a lender, Wells Fargo purchased a half million square feet of office space at 30 Hudson Yards to serve as headquarters for its Corporate & Investment Banking business. It was a decision that John Saclarides, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Corporate Properties, describes as visionary. “Remember, about four or five years ago, there was nothing here,” he said. “It was a rail yard; there was no land. It wasn’t a slam dunk like going to lease office space on Avenue of the Americas that has been a tried-and-true office location for decades.”
The new office space at Hudson Yards aligns with Wells Fargo’s ongoing transformation. Moving from a more traditional space in midtown Manhattan to an innovative and forward-thinking location mirrors the company’s focus on innovation, sustainability, technology, and collaboration. The space features an open floor plan design with a mix of collaboration spaces and quiet work areas designed to help break down barriers between managers and team members. Hudson Yards is where Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf and a number of executive leaders are based, including Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell and Saul Van Beurden, head of Wells Fargo Technology.
The sustainability features of Wells Fargo’s space at Hudson Yards are featured behind the scenes as well as front and center. The building was certified LEED® Gold and is part of Manhattan’s first-ever LEED Gold Neighborhood Development.
“We included everything from circadian lighting on the trading floors and LED lighting throughout the building, to the use of plants to bring nature indoors and accessible stairways to encourage team members to walk between floors,” said Richard Henderson, head of Corporate Properties at Wells Fargo.
A space for collaboration
“Workplace concepts are always evolving,” said Van Beurden. “In the past, the corner office was for the highest in rank. What you will see with this concept is that managers’ offices have smaller footprints. This blueprint is ideal for multifunctional teams where people are collaborating all the time and owning the outcome of what they are doing as a team.”
Hudson Yards will bring together Corporate & Investment Banking teams that had previously worked in different locations throughout Manhattan. Lisa McGeough, co-head of CIB, said, “Getting everybody in CIB together in one place is going to inspire a lot more of that cross-platform collaboration and the regular interaction that makes team members more excited and, frankly, more productive. I feel inspired every day when I come here, and I know our team members will as well.”
The space is home to two state-of-the-art trading floors that are among the most modernly outfitted trading floors in the world. “The ability to come into a brand new building and build out to spec what we want in a trading floor environment allows us to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to a competitive position in the trading world,” said Rob Engel, co-head of CIB.
Technology isn’t the only competitive advantage of moving to Hudson Yards. “There’s an energy level of moving into a new space that always attracts talent,” said Engel. “One of the things we talked about when deciding to move to Hudson Yards is how important it is to be in a space where the next generation of talent wants to be.”
Commitment to local communities
As a company, Wells Fargo’s involvement with Hudson Yards aligns with its commitment to the communities in which it operates. To mark the project’s grand opening, Wells Fargo provided a $25,000 investment in the new West Side Fund for Hudson Yards-area nonprofits and a donation to support P.S. 11, a public elementary school in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It also donated $15,000 to the Hudson Guild Children’s Center for its Power Up program, which provides work, education, and recreation opportunities for at-risk teens and young adults.
The company’s commitment goes beyond just Manhattan’s West Side. “Wells Fargo is a bank that has not just been focused on the high-end development of Hudson Yards, but it has also been deeply involved in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx in terms of helping communities gain greater financial empowerment,” said Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for NYC.
As Wylde describes the Hudson Yards project, “It’s a new generation of economic activity. It’s really a way of expanding the possible.” The same might be said for the work being done by Wells Fargo.