Foundation Work Underway for Disney’s Headquarters at Four Hudson Square in Hudson Square, Manhattan

Rendering of 4 Hudson Square, Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Foundation work is underway for Disney’s 1.2 million-square-foot headquarters at 137 Varick Street in Hudson Square. Alternately addressed as Four Hudson Square, the 22-story, 320-foot-tall structure is designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and is being developed in partnership with Silverstein Properties. Disney purchased the parcel from Trinity Church Real Estate for $650 million, and Skanska was responsible for the demolition of four structures that wrapped up last summer. Lendlease is in charge of constructing the new headquarters, which is bound by Varick Street to the east, Spring Street to the south, Hudson Street to the west, and Vandam Street to the north.

Recent photos show the progress that has occurred at the site since our last update in late October, when excavation was still progressing.

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street from the southern corner. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street from Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street from the northern corner. Photo by Michael Young

The eastern half is further ahead in the subterranean construction with the reinforced concrete foundation slab and base for the inner core walls settled and ready to go vertical. Various building materials and black covers are scattered across the surface.

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

The foundation walls on the northern perimeter of the site are being formed behind a multi-story assembly of metal scaffolding and wooden platforms. Meanwhile, the final steps of excavation are wrapping up on the western end, where numerous excavators and a piling machine are removing the last sections of earth and inserting the necessary supports into the ground.

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

Spotted along Vandam Street was the base of a construction crane tower sitting on a raised concrete platform.

137 Varick Street. Photo by Michael Young

Disney’s new home features an architecturally symmetrical pair of 320-foot-tall towers that would be connected by a large podium. A series of setbacks gradually lead up to the pinnacle and will provide outdoor terraces for occupants. Renderings show the exterior envelope composed of pale green terracotta panels, bronze finishes, and large square panels of floor-to-ceiling glass. Multiple film and production studios, office space, and ground-floor retail are part of the interior programs.

Aerial rendering of 4 Hudson Square - Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Aerial rendering of 4 Hudson Square. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Ground floor rendering of 4 Hudson Square - Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Ground floor rendering of 4 Hudson Square. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

A completion date for Four Hudson Square has yet to be finalized and announced, though YIMBY expects at least a couple years’ worth of construction due to the giant footprint and scale of the project.

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20 Comments on "Foundation Work Underway for Disney’s Headquarters at Four Hudson Square in Hudson Square, Manhattan"

  1. David in Bushwick | March 10, 2021 at 8:53 am | Reply

    Meh, it’s fine.

  2. I don’t hate it, kind of bland looking for a company like Disney. But whatever.

  3. Trinity Church Real Estate did OK for themselves.

  4. Yesterday in YIMBY, the new Google building. Today, Disney. Both in Hudson Square. And aren’t some naysayers telling us “Nobody’s ever gonna work in an office building again in Manhattan! Especially tech people.”?

    • Don’t forget, Facebook actually signed their contract for the Farley Post Office building in August, months into the pandemic. Except for a small percentage of workers, I predict most will be going back to the office within the next 12 months.

    • Why are you calling them naysayers?
      WFH is a long over due choice for people. This opens more doors for home bounders, and people who can’t pay subway plus MTA plus gas just to work in the tristate.
      Just because you are rich and live in TriBeCa doesn’t mean millions out there do.
      Grow up!

      • Why the insult? I run an accounting firm with many employees. WFH/Zoom helped me stay afloat, for which I was thankful. But THAT’S IT! At first, my employees liked it, despite the obvious inconveniences. But all eventually complained of not having the right equipment/furniture/lighting at home, distractions by their kids/spouses/family (many home from lock-outs), always feeling like they’re “working” (often working 10-14 hours just to get their 8 hours in due to distractions), loss of cohesion with the company, isolation (for those by themselves), no home-work balance. Oh, and a good number of them admitted to drinking on the job. And there were even more problems.
        We are ALL back in the office now, and for the most part are happy to be back. They feel they are “back at work”! REAL work. The only thing they miss: Not having to drive to work, saving money on gas/tolls. But that isn’t enough for them to ever want to do WFH again, for any long duration. Like I said, WFH is fine for a few weeks. But as the new permanent paradigm? NO!!!!!!!

        • So I work for a company with over 1000 employees, who are well-paid professionals. Our CEO has told us that we will permanently work on a hybrid basis, three days minimum WFH and two days maximum int the office.

          Our productivity was stellar last year, and most don’t miss their commutes. Our employee satisfaction surveys, which a third-party firm conducted confidentially, have been vastly positive about WFH.

          I did not love it at first, but now it is great. I do not want to back to the old paradigm, and I am a senior manager.

    • Not sure why Disney would bother with an NYC office anymore.
      Seems like a waste of money.

      I worked in 1MW for a few weeks in the new building right before pandemic in 2020 and trust me it was a pain to get to.
      For as verbage workers who don’t get free limo taxi rides and live upstate, going to Grand Central and then hudson yard is an additional headache and money cost. Thanks to Cuomo’s stupid and pointless congestion fees, taxis are a lucky.
      Riots and subway stabbings and racial tension makes NYC so much fun!

      • Thank DiBlasio for this. But it wasn’t like that before last summer.

      • Yeah, Disney can just film all of its shows on Zoom. No need for production studios, creative departments, or on-site management. And why waste time actually meeting the actors and actresses who will be in their shows? You get enough of a person when you see them on a computer screen.

        Surely their shareholders value allowing employees to work in their pajamas and skip commuting more than creating high quality products that can compete in the global market.

  5. I vote for these skyscrapers/developments and the income – taxes too – they will generate. All this working from home nonsense is simply a novelty, nothing more. Who, over time, will chose to sit in their dining room, dressed in their jammies and review sales projections? Who will chose NOT to interact/confer with others at a nearby desk, meet a client, or construct a massing model (yes, I am an architect). We must guard against morphing into a nation of hermits (exaggerating only slightly) and insist the dining room be reserved for flower vases and coffee cakes.

  6. I’m still a little bit unsure about the design of this project. I think it looks sort of dull and really not that interesting. To me it’s really just a fat and expansive office building. But, maybe I’ll be proven wrong.
    Maybe it needs to be “Disneyfied.” ?

  7. Like so many of these projects under construction now, I’m sure this was planned before the reality of how well companies can actually do with a remote workforce. I don’t believe it will never be an all-or-nothing situation, but we will also never again see 100% of a company’s office workers being required to go to an office building each and every day. That will be reflected in most companies holding space for perhaps 75% or less of their office-based employees, and putting those real estate expenses to other purposes, or just toward the bottom line. It’s simple economics.

    • You’re likely correct. Remote works for some jobs – those that were already remote-ready, like those who “out in the field”. But for most others, being in an office with others has a synergy that Zoom cannot replicate. Not to mention company cohesion. Zoom is good for temporary situations, but NOT as the new work method.

      There are always unforeseen, unintended consequences when major paradigm changes occur too quickly, without a gradual evolution process.

      Barry Diller, I think, recently said something like “You can’t run a major global corporation from peoples’ living rooms.” At least not as a new, permanent model.

      • Agree, but many of those “major global corporations” have done studies on office space utilization that were generally ignored or taken half-seriously pre-pandemic. I was involved at my former company and it was staggering that between vacation time, client travel and other reasons, there was only about 60% utilization on an annualized basis. If nothing else, it really makes the idea of dedicated, personalized and permanent space obsolete for the vast majority of office-based employees.

  8. Lol they made a poor strategic decision with this location . Corina lowered its value by 25%

  9. Interesting comments. I have had a home based office from 1994 to 2005 and it worked fine but i really missed the social interaction with peers, clients, etc, etc. I am back home after the Covid-19 lock down but i’m lucky that my work actually takes me to different construction projects every day.
    To all who wish for WFH to be the new normal, just think that if the job could be done from your home in NJ, upstate, CT, Bahamas, etc, think how easy it would be to outsource your job to say, India or Philippines, etc, etc. Get off your butts and back into the offices and keep this workforce alive. As for cost of commute, etc, par for the course. NYC salaries are way higher than elsewhere.

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