Barry Diller’s Pier 55 offshore park plan is back on with backing from Cuomo

October 26, 2017

Photo: Pier 55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio.

In September, 6sqft reported that billionaire IAC Chairman Barry Diller was giving up on the $250 million project that promised to bring a futuristic offshore park and cultural destination to the Hudson River’s dilapidated Pier 54. Since its beginnings in 2014, the seemingly ill-fated project, known as Pier 55 (or sometimes “Diller Park”), was beleaguered by opposing factions–eventually revealed to be funded by prominent New York real estate developer Douglas Durst–that blocked its progress at every turn. Diller, who had imagined the project as a new Manhattan waterfront icon to rival the nearby High Line, had had enough. In a cautiously optimistic turnaround, it was announced Wednesday that the media mogul–now backed by his recent legal foes and Durst in addition to Governor Andrew Cuomo–was renewing his commitment to move ahead with the project, according to Crain’s. Diller said in a statement, “I have had countless people tell me how much they were looking forward to having this new pier, and how unfortunate were the circumstances of its cancellation.”

thomas heatherwick studio pier55, pier55 parkRendering of Pier 55. Photo: Pier 55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio.

The motivating factor in Diller’s reconsideration is said to be a commitment from Cuomo to complete the unfinished 25 percent of Hudson River Park to appease the project’s opponents. In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, Cuomo said he had been able to strike a deal between Diller and the park’s foes. The terms include his agreement to complete Hudson River Park and not allow development at the marine estuary, and a vow by the opposing City Club of New York and backer Durst to drop the pending litigation. In turn, Diller will resume his efforts to build Pier 55. Cuomo is hoping to complete his share of the bargain by the end of his third term assuming he’s re-elected. The Hudson River Park Trust, the gatekeepers of the park space involved in the new project, agreed to work with all involved parties to resurrect the Pier 55 project.

Cuomo said, “We have had productive conversations, and it has been agreed that the legal dispute commenced by the City Club will cease, Pier 55 will go forward, and we will work cooperatively to complete the full vision for the Park. I believe all parties have a higher goal and desire that the park should be completed, and can be completed, in the near future.”

Diller said in a statement through Cuomo’s office that he would “make one last attempt to revive the plans to build the park so that the intended beneficiaries of our endeavor can fall in love with Pier55 in the way all of us have,” if agreements with the Hudson River Park Trust, and other involved agencies are reinstated and with the assurance that the plaintiffs would not reinstate their litigation. “And with all that, we’ll joyfully proceed.”

[Via Crain’s]


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