Efforts to remake the 30-block, wedge-shaped neighborhood, once considered West SoHo, intensified after the 2009 formation of a business improvement district, a quality-of-life-focused nonprofit organization funded by landlords.
The latest attempt met with success. A decade ago, about 30,000 office workers were in Hudson Square, the business improvement district said; last year, there were 60,000. Similarly, the office vacancy rate in 2009 in Hudson Square was about 7 percent, compared with 3 percent today. And office rents are in the range of $80 per square foot annually, which is on a par with Midtown.
The business improvement district is working to improve Hudson Street with wider sidewalks, bike lanes, seats and greenery in a two-year project that began this year.
The 2013 rezoning law, which Trinity supported, covered about 20 blocks to allow more residences; about 3,300 people live there today.
But the expansion of Hudson Square has not been without controversy, as longtime business owners complain that they have been pushed to the side. Disney’s project razed four Trinity-owned office buildings alone. Among the tenants evicted was the architect Rafael Viñoly, who set up shop in 1990 at 50 Vandam Street, a brick former produce-packing plant. Mr. Viñoly moved his firm to near the South Street Seaport last summer.
Other relocations have not been so smooth. City Winery, a winery and performance hall at 155 Varick since 2008, was forced out last summer. The company’s owner, Michael Dorf, said that when he learned that his vintage brick building would be demolished, he was in the middle of a Trinity-approved expansion that wound up costing him almost $3 million.