Pier 55 project files appeal to stop work order; Durst says he backed opposition

Posted On Tue, May 23, 2017 By

Posted On Tue, May 23, 2017 By In Landscape Architecture, Meatpacking District, Policy, Urban Design

6sqft reported in March on the latest developments in the on-again-off-again status of the $200 million Barry Diller-funded offshore park/performing arts center proposed for Pier 55 on the Hudson River; though construction began last November, opponents of the project, led by the City Club of New York, gained a victory in the form of a ruling by Judge Lorna G. Schofield that agreed with group’s claim that the Army Corps of Engineers had not conducted a sufficient environmental review on how the 2.4-acre park would affect fish and wildlife. The judge ordered that work stop at the site and called for a review of alternatives for building along Hudson River Park, a maritime sanctuary. Now, the New York Times reports that the Corps of Engineers, with the project’s sponsor, the Hudson River Park Trust, has filed an appeal of the decision.

The Hudson River Park Trust, which oversees the park, also modified the earlier permit application to avoid the grounds on which the judge objected to the project: The new version nixes the use of concrete to fill in pilings supporting the pier and a barge that would be docked alongside it. The Trust, with Diller’s backing, has been working on the project to replace the crumbling pier with a snazzy new recreation and cultural site designed by renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick.

Diller has said he believes that the opposition is being funded by real estate tycoon Douglas Durst, who has publicly expressed opposition to the plan. According to the Times, the likelihood of that claim was further confirmed by Durst’s acknowledgement this month that he had, in fact, provided funding for the City Club’s legal battle.

Diller said he has not abandoned the project but felt “ambivalent” about it because of its halting progress and its cost, which has ballooned to an estimated $250 million from an original $130 million. “We’ll see what happens with this next step,” Diller said in an interview.

[Via NYT]

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