A drill rig breaks ground at Hudson Yards project. (Charles...

A drill rig breaks ground at Hudson Yards project. (Charles Eckert) Credit: A drill rig breaks ground at Hudson Yards project. (Charles Eckert)

The West Side mini-city that the mayor has been pushing took its first steps to becoming a reality Tuesday.

The groundbreaking of the 47-story South Tower at the Hudson Yards commences the largest expansion of undeveloped property in modern Manhattan history.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he worked with the City Council and various developers for years to transform the unused area. He predicted the 26-acre, $15 billion development will become the newest Gotham hotspot.

"This is the future of New York," he said. "The beautiful state of the art commercial and retail spaces we build here will transform our city's skyline."

The South Tower , which is slated to open in 2015, will include office space and an atrium for visitors to enjoy views of the Hudson River and the rest of the city. Coach Inc. purchased 740,000 square feet in the building for its new headquarters.

Lew Frankfort, the CEO of Coach, said the fashion accessory company has grown over the last 70 years by being ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest trends. So the move to Hudson Yards was a no-brainer.

"The city has inspired, motivated and shaped our brand," Frankfort said.

The tower is just a piece of the larger picture that the mayor and developers say will transform the former rail yard into the new heart of the city.

The North Tower, which will be located at the southwest corner of 10th Avenue and 33rd Street, will cater to businesses. There will also be affordable housing.

A retail complex will link the two buildings and be part of Hudson Yards' 6 million square feet of commercial space. Additionally, there will be parkland that complements the High Line.

Commuters will also benefit, as the area's development will include an extension of the No. 7 train to a new stop at 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

MTA Chair Joe Lhota said Tuesday that he pushed for the development because it presents so much promise for the city.

"It's not only going to be a new source of revenue ... it will be something you rarely see in New York; that is, a creation of a new neighborhood," he said.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the Hudson Yards area in the Council, acknowledged the road to the groundbreaking wasn't easy.

The city and developers went back and forth with various ideas, including a football stadium. In the end, everyone compromised for the city's best needs, she said.

"It will be a moment in the land use and governmental history in New York where people disagreed tremendously ... and stayed in the same room to get something done together," Quinn said.

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