Hudson Yards developer to take on Amazon
Whether you consider it to be the exciting future of urban development or a soulless capitalist architectural nightmare out of a billionaire’s fantasy, there is no doubt that the Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s New West Side is big.
It is the largest private real estate development in American history, costing US$25bn, covering more than 18 million square feet and taking more than a decade to complete. The neighbourhood is a mixture of residential and commercial space, with more than 100 shops and restaurants included as well as an art centre, a public landmark called Vessel designed by Thomas Heatherwick and viewing platforms on the towers which look out over New York.
Aside from anything else, it is an impressive feat of engineering and building requiring innovations such as a custom cooling system for the soil to ensure that tree roots do not overheat, according to a report in the Financial Times.
However, Related Companies, the company behind the development is planning to do something even more ambitious: take on Amazon.
Amazon is the world’s largest internet company by revenue and has taken over the e-commerce sector. Its dominance is so pronounced that politicians are getting involved and beginning to discuss breaking the company up.
The size of the company has a stifling effect on competitors in the marketplace, especially smaller companies which often have no way to get their products to customers without Amazon’s delivery system.
To exist independently of Amazon, brands need an alternative system, and this is the space which Related Companies is moving into. Working with Greenfield Partners, the company has acquired a logistics and fulfilment company called Quiet which is relatively small but has a strong reputation for working with smaller brands.
Despite the fact it is easier to move things in bulk, Quiet has managed to create a system using robotics which can compile and deliver individualised packages, branded for each company, at speed. As it expands, the company plans to deliver 30% of its shipments the next day and another 60% the next day – comparable with Amazon.
The plan is for the company’s current partnership with DHL to continue, but the new input from Related Companies may mean it ends up developing something in-house and bespoke. If that comes to pass, it is not inconceivable that the developer of America’s biggest ever private real estate development might finally provide Amazon with some real competition and act as a barrier which stops the firm creating a home delivery monopoly and crushing smaller competitors so easily.