Nosy Neighbor: What’s Up With 60 Hudson?

60 Hudson 7813I’m wondering what’s up with the 60 Hudson building. Is it just a bunch of different office spaces? I was hoping a while back, when the blown up blueprints were hung outside the building on the Hudson side, that perhaps there was a conversion happening. Now there’s even scaffolding up, but no one seems to know what’s going on there. Do you? —M.

Let’s answer the second question first: There’s no reason to hope that a conversion is happening. As the building’s website indicates—it’s Flash, so I can’t link straight to the appropriate page, but look for “availability”—60 Hudson is indeed commercial. More specifically, it’s what’s known as a colocation center: “Colocation facilities,” says Wikipedia, “provide space, power, cooling, and physical security for the server, storage, and networking equipment of other firms—and connect them to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers—with a minimum of cost and complexity.”

The telecom part is apt, since the building was built in 1928-30 for Western Union, now headquartered in New Jersey; the architect was Ralph Walker. I’m no telecom expert, so let’s turn to Wikipedia for an explanation of what’s happening inside: “Over 100 telecommunications companies have offices and can interchange Internet traffic through a meet-me-room and individual fiber optic lines. […] The [meet-me?] room is on the 9th floor in a 15,000 square foot area that is powered by a 10,000 Amp DC power plant. In 2012 equipment for algorithmic trading was installed in buildings close to this one in order to conduct trades microseconds quicker than in Wall Street a mile away.” See also this Fortune article for a good explanation.

60 Hudson’s website has this to say: “60 Hudson Street is the telecommunications hub of the Northeast region, attracting more than 700,000 square feet of telecommunications and commercial users. […] Major transformations are underway to the building’s mechanical systems, which will allow an additional 240,000 square feet of high-density data center space.” (That may explain the scaffolding, or maybe they’re just doing façade work. Scaffolding is often not an indicator of anything interesting.)

It’s all so modern and exciting, right? Back to Wikipedia: “In 2006, [in an astounding decision for an architectural landmark in the center of a residential neighborhood], a New York City panel approved the storage of nearly 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of diesel fuel on six floors of the building, part of some 80,000 gallons (300,000 liters) of fuel oil stored in the building. [The fuel is for emergency generators.] Community opposition had been raised regarding concerns that the presence of the fuel oil posed a fire hazard that could result in a catastrophic failure of the building, similar to what had happened to 7 World Trade Center.” Which made the fire in 2010 all the more harrowing. There have also been many complaints about very loud noise and acrid black smoke billowing from the roof and on the sidealk; if someone out there is/was part of Neighbors Against Noise, a community watchdog group, and wants to lay it out for us, please do.

All of that is why the security team can go a little bonkers if you take photos of the building—which is a shame, because the lobby, with a Guastavino tile ceiling, is breathtaking.

Note: Two retail spaces are available. Talk about a prime location….

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  1. They’ve converted the 18th floor to modern office space. Currently white box units but you can tell it’ll be beautiful. A very well funded Tribeca based startup is setting up shop in the nicest unit there.

  2. @rock: Sounds interesting! Someone tell us more….