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.
Despite the fact that the 535 concrete piles that will support the planned undulating base of the Pier 55 offshore park have already been erected, the Hudson River Park Trust is now looking towards a flatter design. The Architect’s Newspaper obtained a copy of a permit modification request that the group submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers that reduces the park’s overall size slightly from 2.7 to 2.4 acres and replaces many of the hollow pentagonal pots that would have sat on top of the columns with “a flat structural base sandwiches between the piles and the landscaping.”
Current view of Pier55 site, via 6sqft
Now that the Barry Diller-funded Pier 55 offshore park can proceed freely, the Wall Street Journal took a look at how construction is progressing on the $200 million project. Currently, the 535 concrete columns, each three feet wide and ranging from 70 to 200 feet long, that will support the 2.75-acre park have been erected, poking out of the Hudson River amidst the historic wooden piles that once supported Pier 54, where the Titanic was supposed to dock (these will remain to sustain marine life development). On top of them will be pots, “hollow pentagonal forms” that weigh as much as 60 tons and will be “linked with concrete to create a rectangular platform of about 104,000 square feet.”
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.
All systems are go for the Barry Diller-funded Pier55 park, as a State Appellate court ruled today that work can continue on the 2.75-acre project sited along the Hudson River. As 6sqft previously reported, the main opponent of the park—better known as The City Club of New York—has been aiming to thwart the project under the claim that those involved, namely the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) and Pier55 Inc. (the nonprofit manager established by Diller), failed to go through adequate environmental impact evaluations. City Club served the pair with a lawsuit that eventually led to a stop work order in June. However, an appeals court lifted the stop work order shortly after, and by the end of August, the first nine piles were installed.
Today’s ruling upholds a lower court’s decision that HRPT and Pier55 Inc. did in fact do a proper environmental review, and moreover, that HRPT was not required to put out an RFP to solicit other ideas for the site from other developers—another major point of contention. The court also decided that the park reserves the right to use the space for non-public events like ticketed concerts, although it is noted that “the lease requires that 51 percent of the performances be free or low-cost.”
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?
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.”
Work on the Barry Diller-funded Pier55 park is advancing nicely, even after being slapped with a lawsuit and a stop work order in June. As the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) and Pier55 Inc. announced this afternoon, the first nine piles propping up the 2.7-acre undulating park have been installed. Per the pair’s press release, the milestone marks the completion of summer work and is part of the initial work of the first phase of construction.
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.
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.