, Thu, September 14, 2017
Photo: Pier 55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio.
Barry Diller, the billionaire chairman of IAC, announced he’s killing the $250 million project that promised to bring a futuristic offshore park and cultural site to the Hudson River’s dilapidated Pier 54. 6sqft previously covered the unfolding saga of the ill-fated project, known as Pier 55 (or sometimes as “Diller Park”), as opposing factions continually blocked its progress and were eventually revealed to be funded by prominent New York real estate developer Douglas Durst. According to the New York Times, Diller said Wednesday that his commitment to build the undulating pier would be coming to an end—an inglorious one for a bold plan that some, and certainly Diller himself, saw as a new Manhattan waterfront icon to rival the nearby High Line.
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Photo via Pier 55 Inc.
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.
And what about that Diller-Durst feud
If you thought the roller coaster that is Pier 55 was over since construction began in November, you may not want to step off the ride just yet. Just yesterday, a federal judge ruled in favor of the City Club of New York, who took legal action against the $200 million Barry Diller-funded offshore park way back in the summer of 2015. As reported by the Times, Judge Lorna G. Schofield agreed with the 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. She ordered that work stop at the site and called for a review of alternatives for building along Hudson River Park, a maritime sanctuary.
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After nearly a year and a half of yo-yo-ing back and forth between stop work orders and lawsuits, the Barry Diller-funded Pier 55 park can finally move ahead freely. The New York Law Journal reports that yesterday the state Court of Appeals denied the City Club of New York’s appeal of September’s ruling in favor of Pier 55 and the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) that said construction could continue on the 2.75-acre offshore park, dismissing the opponents’ claims that the park failed to go through adequate environmental impact evaluations and violated the public trust doctrine by planning to host private events.
What this means for Pier 55
As of late last month, summer construction work on the Barry Diller-funded Pier 55 was complete, with the first nine piles propping up the offshore park having been installed. It seemed as though all systems were a go at the $130 million futuristic park, but yesterday 6sqft reported that The City Club of New York, the civic group who was behind an earlier lawsuit and stop work order, may have a backer in none other than Douglas Durst.
And today the Wall Street Journal shares that opponents had their first day in front a panel of state appellate-court judges to express environmental concerns and frustrations that the initial planning between billionaire Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust was done behind closed doors. What are your thoughts on the issue?
More details on the hearing, and tell us if you’re in favor of Pier 55 moving ahead
Once again in the news is media mogul Barry Diller’s futuristic offshore cultural pier development at Pier 55 on the Hudson River. The proposed park project, known informally as Diller Park after its main backer, who is chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and is married to fashion designer Diane Von Furstenburg, is helmed by the Hudson River Park Trust.
The New York Times reports that the project’s main opponent, a civic group called The City Club of New York, may have an equally powerful backer. According to Diller, there is a deep-pocketed “hidden hand” funding the legal actions against the park. In a recent interview, Diller said, “The backer of all this is one Douglas Durst.”
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At the end of last month, an appellate court issued an injunction that said work must temporarily stop at Barry Diller’s Pier 55 until at least September when opponents of the futuristic offshore park (who claimed it had gone through inadequate environmental impact evaluations) could present their case again. But The Real Deal reports today that work has resumed much sooner than expected, as an appeals court lifted the stop work order yesterday.
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Last summer, a civic group known as City Club of New York slapped Barry Diller’s Pier 55 with a lawsuit, claiming he and the Hudson River Park Trust had failed to thoroughly evaluate the environmental impact of the 2.7-acre offshore park. In April of this year, the Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed the case, and later that same month news broke that construction on the $130 million project would begin this summer after gaining regulatory approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, DNAinfo reports that today an appellate court issued an injunction that says work must temporarily stop until at least September when the opponents present their case again.
More details ahead
Billionaire media mogul (and husband to Diane von Furstenberg) Barry Diller just had a big victory in his road to constructing Pier 55, a $130 million futuristic park off 14th Street in Hudson River Park. As reported by the Post, the Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed a case against the development that claimed it could have a negative environmental impact, wiping out local species such as the American eel and shortnose sturgeon.
Justice Joan Lobis, who noted she enjoys biking along the Hudson, said the project did go through the appropriate environmental review process, which found that it “would not cause significant adverse impacts on the aquatic habitat.” Though the plaintiffs, the civic group known as the City Club of New York, have vowed to appeal the decision, construction is currently set to begin later this year.
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As with any major project ready to make waves in NYC, we were just counting the days until Barry Diller’s plan for a futuristic floating park would run into legal trouble. Today, the Times reports that opponents of the $130 million project have joined together to sue Diller and The Hudson River Park Trust (who approved the plans to build) in order to stop construction. The civic group, known as City Club of New York, are saying that the parties have failed to throughly evaluate the environmental impact of the park, and they want Pier 55 to undergo a new environmental review while also obtaining approval from the State Legislature.
More on the lawsuit here