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Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Smile NEW YORK | Pier 57 development

‘People’s Pier’ vs. Performing Arts Center pitched for Pier 40, NYC

By Lincoln Anderson http://www.thevillager.com/villager_...erforming.html

A glitzy “Downtown Lincoln Center” on the Hudson — with stilt-walking Cirque du Soleil performers clomping over soccer fields adding festive atmosphere to the Tribeca Film Festival’s new maritime home — or a teeming sports, day-camp and academic complex devoted to building healthy young bodies and minds, are the two competing redevelopment proposals for Pier 40.

The Pier 40 Working Group got its first look at the proposals for the 14-acre W. Houston St. pier last week. It turns out what was believed to have been four legitimate submissions are in fact only two, with the other two being “not serious,” according to Arthur Schwartz, the working group’s chairperson.

The pair of competing proposals couldn’t be more different. One — a joint venture of The Related Companies, Cirque du Soleil and the Tribeca Film Festival — calls for turning Pier 40 into the Pier 40 Performing Arts Center, or Pier 40 PAC, for short. Drawing a projected 2.7 million visitors a year, it would have a high impact on the Hudson River Park and surrounding neighborhood.

Dubbed Pier 40 – The People’s Pier, the other proposal — by Urban Dove and CampGroup — would augment the pier’s already substantial sports facilities, while adding space for high school and college academic programs. As opposed to the PAC, it would have a relatively low impact on the area and park.

In September, the Hudson River Park Trust issued a request for proposals, or R.F.P., from developers for the pier, with a Nov. 17 deadline. A similar R.F.P. process for the pier two years ago was a failure, ending without any developer being chosen. But the Trust, the state-city authority that operates and is building the 5-mile-long waterfront park, is giving it another try because it wants the pier to generate more revenue for the park, which is intended to be self-sustaining. (The parking operation on the pier currently generates $5 million annually for the Trust.) Also, the 44-year-old pier needs a renovation, which the Pier 40 master-lease holder would have to finance, as well as funding the pier’s upkeep over the term of the lease, which would be from 30 to 49 years.

Two years ago, some of the R.F.P. submissions included big-box stores, which sparked massive opposition among neighboring residents. In response, the Trust’s latest R.F.P. specifically stated that big-box stores would not be permitted, which might explain why there were fewer proposals this time.

Pier 40 PAC is the more ambitious proposal in terms of the sheer amount of construction involved and its price tag — $626 million — which is more than the cost of the entire park itself.

According to the R.F.P. submission, done by The Related Companies, Pier 40 PAC “will become the premier destination spot for evening activity in Downtown Manhattan, delivering an exciting combination of entertainment activities, bustling with activity.... Practically, 600,000 square feet of continuous development site is near impossible to assemble in New York City. The opportunity here is powerful,” the proposal states.

The PAC plan includes an 84,000-square-foot Cirque du Soleil theater — home to 75 acrobats and dancers — as well as a 10,000-square-foot Cirque du Soleil restaurant, 30,000-square-foot Cirque nightclub, a V.I.P. lounge and 9,000-square-foot Cirque CD’s shop.

Also part of the complex would be a 60,000-square-foot multiplex movie theater programmed by the Tribeca Film Festival, which would be a screening venue for the festival, while showing art films and independent films the rest of the year. Additionally, the Cirque theater would be used for four weeks each year as a screening venue for the film festival.

During the film festival, the actual Cirque shows in the theater would go on hiatus, but the Cirque performers would still be busy; the buskers, acrobats and dancers would “spill out onto the environment,” enlivening the pier, the proposal notes.

A 45,0000-square-foot music hall for live performances is another component of the PAC proposal.

And a 45,000-square-foot grand ballroom/event space would be suitable, the proposal notes, for “after-parties for the Grammy Awards, the MTV Music Awards and the VH1 Diva Awards” or even spillover for events from the Auto Show at the Javits Center.

Plans also call for a 15,000-square-foot space called the “Beach Club,” but there is no description of what exactly it would be.

There would also be 37,000 square feet of small-scale “destination” and “specialty” retail, 58,000 square feet of restaurant space and a 50-slip marina.

The PAC plan calls for demolishing the southern half of the pier’s two-story “doughnut”-shaped pier shed structure. This southern side of the pier would feature a plaza, bordered by four restaurants. In the summer the plaza would be used by a farmers’ market, and in winter would be converted to an ice-skating rink to attract visitors to the pier during the cold weather.

The northern side of the pier shed would be left standing, and the Cirque du Soleil theater would be built on top of it at the pier’s northwest corner. Meanwhile, the pier’s western edge would see a new, glass-enclosed Winter Garden with public restrooms.

Above, a rendering of the Pier 40 Performing Arts Center, or PAC, proposal. Below, a massing diagram identifying some of the PAC proposal’s main facilities.

Filling the doughnut

In Pier 40 PAC, the pier’s central, 400-square-foot courtyard would be filled in with new construction for the complex, and the heavily used artificial-turf sports fields currently located there would be rebuilt on 227,000 square feet of space on the roof on the pier’s northern edge — with, the proposal notes, a “softer substructure” for the fields, making them safer and better.

As for preserving other existing uses on the pier, there is provision for about 1,850 parking spaces in the proposal, as well as space for the Trust’s administrative offices. The Performing Arts Center project would take three years to complete, and Related feels that by installing ramps into the courtyard, about 800 parking spaces could still function during the renovation. But the sports fields would apparently be out of commission.

Accommodation would also be made on the pier for the Trapeze School currently located in the park at DesBrosses St.

On the other hand, the Pier 40 – The People’s Park plan is less an overhaul of the pier than a preservation of the existing structure.

The proposal’s main development partners are CampGroup — owned by Benerofe Properties — and Urban Dove, a local nonprofit group helping students through athletics and other programs. The People’s Pier plan is geared more toward the surrounding community, rather than transforming the pier into a major destination.

“The People’s Pier is not just a name,” Mark Benerofe of Benerofe Properties wrote in his cover letter on their Pier 40 R.F.P. submission. “It symbolizes a belief that this extraordinary property belongs to the residents of the city that surrounds it.”

The emphasis in this proposal is athletics and education, as well as maintaining the community’s long-term pier parking. The pier’s existing sports fields would be kept where they are now in the central courtyard, where they would continue to be better sheltered from the elements than were they moved to the rooftop, the proposal states.

In total, the plan would create 33 percent more open space than required under the Hudson River Park Act, which mandates that the equivalent of 50 percent of the pier’s footprint be set aside for public open space, while the rest of the pier is allowed to be developed commercially.

With so much open space, the submission notes, “The People’s Pier will be able to host major national and regional sporting events that will showcase the city and its waterfront.” The Special Olympics New York wrote a letter of interest in the People’s plan, noting the pier “could be a centerpiece facility” for their national or international games.

Even more fields

The pier’s 300,000 square feet of existing recreation space would be preserved under the plan, while 85,000 square feet of new artificial-turf fields would be added on the pier shed’s southern rooftop.

In addition, there would be eight new indoor multi-use courts, locker rooms and related offices created in 75,000 square feet of space under a new rooftop structure to be built atop Pier 40’s northern edge; this facility would be the new home to Urban Dove’s Net Gain program, under which Urban Dove provides basketball court time for students from schools that lack courts. Urban Dove had been providing this service at Basketball City at Pier 63 for 450 students from 18 public high schools. However, in September, the Trust forced Basketball City to vacate the W. 23rd St. pier to allow construction of a park there.

Sizeable swimming pools — 4½ feet deep, two indoor, totaling 23,000 square feet, and one 24,000-square-foot outdoor pool — would be built under the People’s plan.

CampGroup would build an additional 100,000 square feet of facilities, and run a “high-quality day camp” from mid-June to mid-August each year.

The plan calls for increasing the amount of car parking spaces by about 500 to 2,584. Both The People’s Pier and Pier 40 PAC include parking stackers to use space more efficiently.

The People’s Pier proposal also calls for a 75,000-square-foot New York City public high school and an 80,000-square-foot university or college complex, both to be located — like the new basketball courts — within the new rooftop shed on the pier’s north side. Letters of interest have been sent to the project team from several schools.

Nate Dudley, principal of New York Harbor School — which focuses on marine science and marine technology — wrote that Pier 40 would be a good spot for a middle school to feed the Harbor School high school planned for Governors Island.

“Pier 40 is an ideal location for our first feeder middle school, and is a place that our current students already use for their maritime activities,” Dudley noted.

Akiva Kobre, Touro College senior vice president, wrote that the school has undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on health and obesity that would benefit from being located at Pier 40.

“We believe the location, the amount of space available and the synergies that exist with your other tenants makes Pier 40 an ideal location for us and our students,” Kobre wrote.

Eduardo N. del Valle, City University of New York interim vice chancellor, wrote that Pier 40 “is a unique and exciting piece of property with great potential for the type of development you [The People’s Pier] are proposing.”

Additionally, under the People’s plan, the pier’s southern promenade would be widened 10 feet, by cutting back the pier shed, and would have some commercial amenities, including a cafe on the finger pier.

Offices for the Trust, a facility for the Trapeze School and a marina would also be included.

As part of CampGroup’s proposal, a pedestrian bridge spanning the West Side Highway connecting to Pier 40 would be requested from the State Department of Transportation.

Build it and They’ll come

The People’s Pier plan is supported by The Pier Park & Playground Association, a nonprofit group based at Pier 40 that advocates for increased youth athletic opportunities on the Lower West Side. In a phone interview, Tobi Bergman, P3’s president, said the increase of existing athletic uses and the plan’s low impact are attractive. On the other hand, the Pier 40 PAC could lead to a radical transformation of the area, he contended.

“It would turn the Village into Times Square and Broadway,” Bergman said of the arts center plan. “This represents the same kind of threat to the neighborhood that the Trump condo-hotel tower [under construction at Spring and Varick Sts.] represents — to really transform the Village in a way it’s never been transformed before. It’s not just a park issue. People will start seeing what kind of other entertainment uses can come in. I want to know how they’re going to get 2.7 million people there” without detrimentally impacting the neighborhood, he said.

Schwartz of the Pier 40 Working Group said most of the group’s 18 members withheld comment on the proposals at their meeting last week, wanting to read the voluminous plans.

Noting that the Hudson River Park Act restricts the types of uses on Pier 40, Schwartz noted that the two latest proposals represent “two extremes.”

“It’s a tough project,” he said, “because you can’t have big-box retail, you can’t have commercial offices, you can’t have residential, you can’t have hotels — and where are developers putting their money these days?”

Schwartz predicted there will be “a lot of opposition” to the arts center. And he acknowledged the importance of sports to the park.

“The reason the Hudson River Park got built is because the Downtown youth sports leagues got mobilized” to push for the passage of the Hudson River Park Act in 1998, he said.

Yet, Schwartz said the working group is also reserving the right not to endorse either plan.

“For me, leaving it alone remains a distinct possibility,” he said.

By contrast, Bergman said P3 strongly hopes the Trust does decide to pick the CampGroup plan, since the pier needs the renovation.

“The pier is too valuable” not to renovate it, Bergman said. “I would like to see the pier and the existing structure improved. The facility’s functioning very well now, but it needs an upgrade.” Bergman contended the Trust would be “embarrassed” if this second Pier 40 R.F.P. process also fails, and that the Trust doesn’t want that to happen.

The Trust set a 90-day timeline for picking a developer following the Nov. 17 R.F.P. submission deadline. But it seems unlikely that schedule will be met, since the administration change in Albany with Democrat Eliot Spitzer taking over as governor from Republican George Pataki on Jan. 1 will complicate the process. The Trust’s board of directors — on which Spitzer has five appointees, including the chairperson — will be shaken up. Carol Ash, Spitzer’s new State Parks Department commissioner, has already replaced her predecessor, Bernadette Castro, on the Trust board.

“It’ll affect it a lot,” Schwartz said of Spitzer’s election on the Pier 40 process. “I expect there will be five new trustees and a new chairperson. I would think it would slow it down. Spitzer has hundreds of agency positions to fill,” he said, noting the Trust’s board is probably not the new governor’s top priority.

Asked about the R.F.P. process and where it stands, Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said, “Pier 40’s redevelopment is important, as its infrastructure is in need of repair and would require a substantial capital investment by the Trust to execute.” He didn’t comment on when a decision might be made.

Last edited by BINARY SYSTEM; Jan 26, 2007 at 6:22 PM.
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Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 12:47 PM
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I think it deserves its own thread over here in this forum.
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Old Posted Jan 10, 2007, 1:41 PM
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This thing has been back and forth for so long, I don't know that they will ever make a final decision.

BTW, you should put the city of the development in the thread title, not everyone's up on it.
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Old Posted Jan 26, 2007, 12:01 AM
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That is the Performing Arts Center (above) that is being debated from the other render posted above, The Peoples Pier.

No need to get into to further detail until the final design and construction begins...Mmk ...

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Old Posted Jan 26, 2007, 1:04 AM
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wow, that project looks awesome
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2007, 11:55 AM
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Throw this one into the mix...

Tribeca Trib

CB1 Committee Rejects Plans for Pier 26

By Carl Glassman
MARCH 13, 2007

A task force of Community Board 1 members rejected plans by the Hudson River Park Trust’s (HRPT) for a boathouse and restaurant on Tribeca’s Pier 26. A resolution passed by the group on March 12 calls on the Trust to scrap much of the plans and start over, in consultation with the board and others who use the piers.

The Task Force, assembled by Julie Nadel, chair of the board’s Waterfront Committee, hopes to have a say over the structures and operations on the rebuilt pier, which also is expected to include a marine study center. For now, however, there is no money for any public amenities on Pier 26, located near Hubert Street. The Trust has applied to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for funds to build the structures.

The group criticized the boathouse plans as both overly fancy and too small and complained that the Trust was creating detailed plans for a restaurant while ignoring the marine center altogether.

An estuarium, the River Project, was on the pier for years before it and the Downtown Boathouse were closed for rebuilding in 2005. They say the restaurant violates the Hudson River Park Act, which prohibits commercial enterprises on the pier.

The plans show a two-story building, with an 8,700 square foot ground floor, split between the boathouse and the restaurant. The latter includes seating for about 220 people, including space for 100 diners on the pier, 80 inside the restaurant and 35 on an upper deck. The 5,600 square foot rooftop deck, to be used for public seating, extends over the restaurant and the boathouse.

The boathouse would occupy 5,200 square feet and include amenities, such as showers, heating and toilets, that were not provided in the shed that the kayakers on Pier 26 had used for many years.

Jim Wetteroth, who ran the Downtown Boathouse’s public kayaking program before Pier 26 and Pier 25 were closed, said the new boathouse would be about one-third smaller, with half the storage area for kayaks. The original boathouse, Wetteroth said, served its purposes well in the years since it was founded in 1987. He said he wants to see another simple structure on the pier when it is rebuilt. The proposed amenities, he said, will make the structure unnecessarily expensive.

“The boathouse is just a support building for public activity,” Wetteroth said. “It shouldn’t be elaborate. The exterior should look attractive and the interior should be plain and fireproof.”

Nadel, who serves on the HRPT board, has been an outspoken critic of the agency’s handling of plans for the pier, which she complains has ignored public opinion. She believes scaled-down plans would be easier to fund, simpler to maintain, and quicker to put up after the pier is rebuilt next year.

She and others complain that mistakes were made in the design of a boathouse on Pier 96, and they don’t want them repeated on Pier 26. “We need a seat at that table so they don’t go do this again,” she said of the construction drawings, which the task force reviewed at the March 12 meeting.

Chris Martin, a vice president and spokesman for the Trust, takes exception to the claims that the Trust has ignored community wishes, citing the involvement of CB1 and others in the process and the board’s 2002 resolution in support of the Trust’s concepts for the pier. He defended the “fancy” items criticized by the boaters, saying the boathouse is meant to be around for 50 years and has to “change with the times.”

“A shower is not going to make or break the building of the boathouse,” he said. “If anything, it will make it better and more useable by more people.”

The group said the Trust should provide interim use of the piers after they are reconstructed, even if funding for permanent structures has not been found. “It could be a prefab building. How much could that cost?” said Nadel. “But get something back as soon as possible for the public. And not a restaurant.”
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Battle of Pier 40 Heats Up Over Big Developments

A rendering of a proposed redesign of Pier 40 that would include a theater and a venue for a circus.

Aril 27, 2007

A showdown on the future of a West Side pier is set for next week, as community residents are pledging to turn out in force for a public hearing regarding two development proposals.

One of the city's largest developers wants to radically transform a large West Side pier that serves mostly as a parking garage and soccer fields into a giant hub of activity comprising an independent film theater, restaurants, retail shops, and a venue for the Cirque du Soleil.

A public hearing is scheduled for next week. Critics are vowing to fight against the proposal, which they have dubbed "Vegas on the Hudson."

Earlier this month, the Related Companies submitted its revised and final plan for the 14-acre pier: a more than $600 million proposal for Pier 40, just off West Houston Street, which would create a giant hub of activity along the mostly tranquil strip of parkland and bring a destination-entertainment complex to the mainly undeveloped side of the West Side Highway. Related is proposing to completely overhaul the pier with its planned complex, trumpeting the presence of recreational fields, open space, about 65,000 square feet of retail shops, and a farmer's market.

Seemingly in an attempt to leverage the popularity of two cultural institutions, the developer is pushing the presence of a year-round home for the Tribeca Film Festival and the colorful Cirque du Soleil within its plan.

The competing developer, the Camp Group, is proposing a more modest recreational and education facility that has attracted less attention.

Because the designs were first released late last year, community opposition has been tough and unified, with critics decrying the idea of a tourist hot-spot that would take the place of community recreation space and spread uncharacteristic development to the adjacent neighborhood.

"Clearly this is a regional tourist destination that would have little connection to the neighborhood and would solely be an attraction to tourists," the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Andrew Berman, said of Related's proposal. "If you have Vegas on the Hudson next door, the tendency will be to look to develop similar uses in the inland area — and that would be totally unacceptable."

Defenders of recreational space also have rallied against the proposal, saying tourists would detract from the character of the recreational facility and field that would have to be moved to what they say is a windy roof from the pier interior.

Related insists its development would better the facilities, adding recreational space and improving the field while giving much needed renovation to the pier.

Calling the development "uniquely New York," a spokeswoman for Related, Joanna Rose, said the project offers "vibrant community recreational uses with unparalleled access to the waterfront while presenting new cultural amenities desperately needed downtown, including a home for the TriBeCa Film Festival."

The pier currently holds a large yellow-brick, two-story building constructed in the 1960s, serving mostly as a parking lot and facility for soccer and other recreation in its open-air center.

The state- and city-managed Hudson River Park Trust owns the site. It issued a request for proposals from developers last year in an attempt to redevelop the onetime ocean liner terminal, ideally creating a revenue-generating facility that would help finance the park. The agency recognizes about $5 million a year in revenue from the site, a spokesman for the Hudson River Park Trust, Christopher Martin, said.

There are no assurances that any development would get built, as the Hudson River Park Trust could reject both proposals, and the City Council or Planning Commission could overturn zoning changes that would likely be required.

Mr. Martin said the proposals are being reviewed and that community input will play a role in the selection.

"We're certainly open to any kind of revenue that the pier can bring in, but we want it to be something that's amenable to the public," he said.

While community opposition has gathered around Related's proposal, the far more modest $145 million plan from the Camp Group has garnered significantly less attention. As it includes less revenue-generating services, such as recreational fields, a school, some retail and a marina, many in the community question the development company's ability to make any return on its investment while also offering adequate funding for the park trust.

A co-developer of the project, Jai Nanda, said the finances are indeed solid, especially supported by the inclusion of a day camp for children. "I know that the rumor is out there that we're not financially viable, but I think a lot of that is just perception," Mr. Nanda said. "People don't really realize that there's very strong and profitable businesses."
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Old Posted May 1, 2007, 11:38 AM
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May 1, 2007

A plan to convert Pier 40 at Houston Street into a "People's Pier" with athletic fields and swimming pools is not financially feasible, a consultant hired by Hudson River Park Trust has concluded.

The report, compiled for the park's trustees and obtained by The Post, raises red flags about the proposal, calling into question the development team's financing for the $143 million project as well as its ability to pay the cash- strapped park adequate rent.

Bay Area Economics, a private consulting group, studied two competing proposals for Pier 40 and concluded that the People's Pier plan relies too heavily on unsecured public grants, lacks firm commitments from private commercial tenants and underestimates the cost of repairing the aging pier's pilings.

"These factors, in combination, pose substantial risk to [the trust] as the property owner," the report found.

Both proposals - the People's Pier and the competing plan, a performing-arts center anchored by Cirque du Soleil and the Tribeca Film Festival - go before a public hearing Thursday.

Developers behind the People's Pier called the findings "simply not true."

"Our feeling is that the report isn't getting all the facts right," said Jai Nanda of Urban Dove, a not-for-profit partner in the People's Pier project with The Camp Group, a firm that operates summer camps.

Marc Benerofe, of The Camp Group, insists the proposal only calls for $8 million in public grants but adds the project could go forward without the money.

And he said the People's Pier is less risky because it needs fewer zoning and environmental approvals.

The selection by the trust won't be the final say on the development. Either project will have to go through the city's exhaustive land-use review for final approval.

Both projects would be required to continue operating long-term parking for about 1,800 cars and would be required to set aside 300,000 square feet for public parks.

The $625 million performing-arts center, proposed by The Related Cos., would include a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil and a theater complex for the film festival as well as restaurants and stores.

Related's proposal would also include ball fields and a marina, but those fields would be relocated from their current location on the pier's lower level to a roof-top site, a move opposed by local sports groups.

Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for Related, called the project "uniquely New York," although it's been dubbed by community opponents as "Las Vegas on the Hudson."

"It offers vibrant community recreational uses with unparalleled access to the waterfront while presenting new cultural amenities desperately needed downtown, including a home for the Tribeca Film Festival," Rose said.

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Old Posted May 1, 2007, 2:20 PM
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I didn't read the 4 news stories in full, but I have a question.

Let say I'm somewhere in midtown, what would make me want head out to pier 40 that I can't already find in the city?
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Old Posted May 1, 2007, 7:12 PM
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Originally Posted by -GR2NY- View Post
I didn't read the 4 news stories in full, but I have a question.

Let say I'm somewhere in midtown, what would make me want head out to pier 40 that I can't already find in the city?
Pier 40 is in the city, on the Hudson. It's not meant as a destination just for the people of Midtown, no more so than Coney Island, or the rest of the developments in the city. By the way, its not the only redevelopment of piers. Check the East River waterfront thread.
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Old Posted May 3, 2007, 11:25 AM
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Here's a shock....

Fight Brews Over Plans to Reinvent Hudson Pier

Under a proposal for Pier 40 on the Hudson River, a parking garage would become an entertainment center housing the Cirque du Soleil.

May 3, 2007

A Hudson River pier built for ocean liners but now used mainly as a parking garage would become home to a large entertainment complex with permanent sites for the Cirque du Soleil and the Tribeca Film Festival as part of a proposal that has encountered significant opposition in Greenwich Village.

The $626 million plan by the Related Companies to turn sleepy Pier 40 — now the site of the garage and a few sports fields — into a cultural complex attracting 2.7 million visitors annually has been derided by its opponents as “Las Vegas on the Hudson.”

In addition to a theater for the Cirque du Soleil and a 12-screen cinema, the plan for the pier calls for an 1,800-seat music hall, a 28,650-square-foot event space and a glass-enclosed winter garden, as well as shops, restaurants, more athletic fields and more than 2,000 parking spaces. The proposal originally included a 15,000-square-foot “beach club” modeled after the SoHo House, a members-only club in the meatpacking district, but that idea has been scrapped.

A public hearing on the proposed complex, called the Pier 40 Performing Arts Center, is scheduled for tonight. A coalition of Greenwich Village groups have vowed to quash the plan, setting up a potential showdown between residents of one of the city’s most activist neighborhoods and Related, one of the city’s most politically connected developers.

Opponents of the plan say a performing arts center would bring traffic congestion and pollution, clash with the scale of the neighborhood and relegate popular athletic fields to a windy area on the two-story pier building’s roof.

“I think every strata of the neighborhood is opposed to this: the old guard, who has sought to retain the area’s character, the newcomers who live in the new buildings, the sports leagues who want more recreation space,” said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “There aren’t many things they all agree on, but this is one.”

But Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for the Related Companies, said the plan would increase the amount of park space and could avoid creating traffic problems that would spill into the rest of the neighborhood.

“This plan could be a real win for New York and a true amenity to life downtown,” Ms. Rose said in a statement. “It increases the amount of space available for recreation by over 40 percent, while offering tremendous access to the waterfront, over five acres of passive open green spaces and vibrant cultural amenities, including a home for the Tribeca Film Festival.”

A competing consortium of developers has proposed a second plan, which would cost $145 million and would be known as the People’s Pier. The plan, which has drawn less community opposition, calls for building a high school, three swimming pools, shops and restaurants and additional space for parks and athletic fields.

The Hudson River Park Trust, the city-state agency that operates the park that surrounds Pier 40, said it must develop the pier to generate revenue for the upkeep of the five-mile park, which snakes along the Hudson from Chambers Street to 59th Street and is still under construction.

The park, chartered in 1998, was intended to be self-sustaining, with most of its revenue coming from activities on its piers. For example, the garage on Pier 40 brings the trust about $5 million annually. Each development proposal for Pier 40 would add several hundred parking spaces to the 1,800 already there.

“The question of that site for me is, How do we create a proposal that has economic viability, jobs and revenue for the rest of the park?” said Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, who appoints three members to the trust’s 13-member board of directors. “We have to have something that does not overwhelm the park and the neighborhood.”

Pier 40 was built in 1954 for the Holland America Line as a commercial shipping terminal, but that function was made obsolete by commercial air travel.

The 14-acre pier, at West Houston Street, was used for storage, offices and a bus depot before it was converted to a public parking garage. In 1999, a soccer field was built atop the pier building, and other sports fields and park space have since been added. A trapeze school established at the pier several years ago would be retained as part of both proposals.

Over the years, plans to build a hotel, apartments, a flower market and a branch of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum at the pier have been proposed and rejected.

In 2003, the park trust called for new development ideas, but eventually rejected proposals for museums, television and film studios and an aquarium. One of the proposals, a plan to put a “big box” retailer on the pier, led to particularly fierce opposition in the neighborhood.

“You have a lot of people who border the park with an interest in having something developed that is great, and is worthy of the New York City waterfront,” said Christopher W. Martin, vice president of the park trust.
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Related’s revisions to its plans includes more field space at the south end of Pier 40, left, and fewer traffic lane entrances.

1,500 swarm park meeting

By Lincoln Anderson

More than 1,500 parents, Little Leaguers and budding David Beckhams — plus a crew hauling a 14-foot-long Whitehall rowboat complete with a sail — mobbed P.S. 41 last Thursday evening for a public hearing on Pier 40’s future.

Most came to defend the pier’s sports fields from possibly being shut down for up to 18 months — and to voice their outrage at the idea of Little Leaguers being set out to sea on barges as an interim plan.

They came to keep their mecca for sports from becoming “a mall.”

The boaters said they want to the pier to remain a place where small watercraft can find safe harbor.

At the start, the scene was total chaos, as the young players wearing uniforms— many were bused up by Tribeca and Battery Park City youth programs — and parents flooded into the W. 11th St. school’s lobby.

“Get me some water! I’m losing my voice!” Maryann Monte, a Hudson River Park Trust staffer, shouted above the din as she struggled to get everyone to sign in.

Four hundred people packed the school’s auditorium, with another 400 each filling the cafeteria and schoolyard. Shortly after the meeting’s 7 p.m. start, though, hundreds more were still outside, with a line stretching down 11th St., onto Sixth Ave. and winding around the corner onto 10th St. It was decided just to open the schoolyard gate on Greenwich Ave. and let everybody in — an estimated 300 more — and waive the sign-in.

Police officers and firefighters kept watch so that the rooms didn’t swell to over capacity. Audio and TV links to the cafeteria and yard allowed people there to follow the action in the auditorium.

It was by far the largest turnout anyone could remember for such a public hearing Downtown.

Concern is at an all-time high over the Trust’s plan to redevelop the 14-acre W. Houston St. pier. An earlier effort to do so by the state-city authority crashed in 2003, after which the pier’s courtyard was carpeted with artificial grass for sports fields under an interim plan. The fields have since become a treasured community asset in a park-starved part of town, and are in nearly constant use by the local youth sports leagues.

Two teams are vying to redevelop the pier. The Related Companies has joined with Cirque du Soleil and the Tribeca Film Festival in a $626 million proposal called “Pier 40 Performing Arts Center,” or “PAC,” to transform the pier into a major entertainment destination. The other proposal, by Urban Dove and CampGroup, called “The People’s Pier,” would cost $145 million and add a summer day camp and a school to the pier, as well as courts for public high school basketball teams and others to use.

Hudson River Park is supposed to be self-sustaining. The Trust — which is building the 5-mile-long park — is seeking a private developer to increase the revenue from the pier, which is currently $5 million to $6 million annually from the parking operation. The developer would also pay for the costly repair of the former shipping pier, which badly needs a rehab.

The developers are required to preserve the pier’s 1,800 parking spaces and provide sports field space at least equal to that currently on the pier. The Trust’s board of directors will ultimately decide which plan would be chosen, after which a public environmental review and uniform land use review procedure would occur. No schedule is set for selection of a developer or the review process.

In general, however, there wasn’t much support among the crowd for either plan. But it was Related’s vision for the pier that came in for the most savaging.

After the development teams made brief presentations, audience members were allowed to comment. About 50 did, and — in their own ways — all expressed their extreme anxiety about the pier’s future. They ranged from kayakers to residents of the tony new Morton Square high-rise building across from Pier 40 to T-ball-playing tykes.

“We say no to interim fields,” Tom Ellett, president of Greenwich Village Little League, said. “We say no to removing our fields! We say no to rooftop fields only! We say no to baseball on barges!

“You are the Hudson River Park Trust. It says ‘park’ in your name. Do the right thing for the children and families of our community,” Ellett said, as applause resounded through the auditorium.

Local politicians also weighed in. Assemblymember Deborah Glick expressed a similar sentiment and received similar rousing cheers when she said: “I believe that what’s presented to us here reflects humongous development. We were promised a waterfront park with small nodes of development; they [the nodes] develop a lot of money now.”

Also commenting were Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senators Tom Duane and Martin Connor and Councilmember Alan Gerson. All emphasized the importance of preserving the pier’s playing fields .

“The People’s Pier” plan was not without its critics. Bob Russo, of Downtown United Soccer Club, decried the idea of charging for use of the pier’s field and athletic space — though the Urban Dove/CampGroup only would do this for some of the spaces.

“They’re not giving us more [athletic space],” Russo said angrily, “and they’re charging market rate for use.” Meanwhile, of the “PAC” plan, he said, “We are an afterthought. Putting our kids on the roof…. Our kids need to be put on center stage — not on backstage.”

One of the few voices in favor of Related, Peggy Lewis, executive director of biz kids, inc., and several young actors in her program, wore artistic masks to the hearing. The acting program has had a space on the pier since 2001, and Lewis feels the pier needs the kind of repairs that Related will bring.

Lewis wondered why Pier 40 must completely be consumed by sports — in short, why Bohemia has become, well, “Baseball City.”

“My concern is exclusivity of Pier 40 as a sports pier. Why? Why?” she asked with a perplexed look. “We are in New York City, one of the largest, most fantastic arts cities in the world.”

But baseball caps at the hearing far outnumbered long-nosed theatrical masks.

‘The People’s Pier’

Jai Nanda, founder and executive director of Urban Dove — a nonprofit group helping youth through sports and other programs — assured the audience that “The People’s Pier” plan would not disrupt use of the existing main field space.

“The courtyard ball field is a safe haven for thousands of kids,” Nanda said. “Our plan keeps the courtyard ball field open year-round.” The crowd exploded with applause.

Nanda — who grew up in the Village and attended P.S. 3 — said that as a youth he used to play on a dirt lot on Mercer St. that was eventually replaced by New York University’s Coles Sports Center. His own experience typifies Downtown’s lack of playing field space, he said, noting, “It was from this reality that ‘The People’s Pier’ was born.”

Nanda added “The People’s Pier” plan won’t increase auto traffic to the pier.

Nanda said they will invest $30 million in the pier’s infrastructure, including fixing up the pier’s substructure and deteriorated piles. They would start by fixing only the piles around the edge of the pier, however, and would shore up the pier’s center at a later date. Nanda explained they could take this approach because the load of the central courtyard is less than that on the pier’s perimeter, which supports the two-story “doughnut”-like pier shed.

He said they would seek $8 million from the city and state to erect a roof over the pier’s northern edge under which there would be basketball courts for Urban Dove’s Net Gain program for public high school basketball teams that lack courts. If they don’t get the funds, they would erect a bubble on an interim basis, he said. Nanda said they feel public monies are appropriate for this structure, since it will support public use.

Though some critics have called the Urban Dove/CampGroup plan “underfunded,” Nanda said “The People’s Pier” plan — because it is less expensive — is more feasible.

“Our low impact, less costly approach is less risky [than the Related plan],” Nanda stated. A CampGroup representative stressed that they have financed and repaid $1 billion in loans in running their about a dozen camps.

In an interview afterward, Nanda clarified that all the pier’s existing field space would be free of charge and would continue to be programmed by the Trust. However, there would be a sliding fee for use of the new fields on the pier’s south rooftop, three new pools and the basketball courts. Nonprofit groups would get a low rate, corporate leagues would get market rate and some groups would even get free use, Nanda said.

The day camp — charging $1,000 a week per camper — would only use the south fields and pools for 10 weeks in the summer. The pools would be 4-feet deep, two indoor and one outdoor, large enough for competitions, with aboveground aluminum-tank construction.

Nanda said their plan would increase the pier’s open space by about 30 percent to 40 percent. He added that after seeing the demand at the hearing for keeping the pier’s indoor soccer field, they are now trying to work with the Trust to figure out how to keep it as part of their plan.

Asked about their proposal to add a school to the pier, Nanda said they have met with both the city’s Department of Education and Bill Gates’s New Visions organization, and have been advised that a sports or marine school would be most appropriate.

Also at the hearing, the Urban Dove/CampGroup’s plan to add a pedestrian bridge over West St. to the pier drew approving applause from parents concerned with the safety of their children while crossing the highway.

The ‘PAC’ pier

Jeff Blau, president of The Related Companies, started off by telling the 1,500-plus audience members, “We recognize that any development must be sensitive to your concerns.” He saw many “affordable soccer” signs in the audience and said those were a vote for the Related plan.

Noting Pier 40 has “suffered from years of neglect,” Blau said, “The Trust, the city and the state want the pier rebuilt. For safety, we are willing to commit $35 million to repair the pier.”

After Related’s first design for the pier was panned by the community earlier this year as too “glitzy Las Vegas” and too tall, Related retooled its design. The new design generally keeps within the envelope of the existing pier shed, except for the addition of a 120-foot-tall Cirque du Soleil fly tower on the pier’s northwest corner.

Also, Houston St. would be extended onto the pier via a pedestrian promenade that would house galleries, restaurants and retail space behind facades evoking the Lower West Side’s industrial past.

Related has expanded the amount of outdoor space in its new proposal, representing a 40 percent increase over the pier’s existing outdoor and field space.
Most of the pier’s courtyard would be filled in. The pier’s current courtyard ball fields, as well as the smaller rooftop ball field on the pier’s southeast corner, would be moved to the northern section of the pier’s roof. In addition, more athletic space — possibly for basketball or tennis — would be created on the southern part of the pier’s rooftop. The existing indoor soccer field would be kept.

Blau added that Related is willing to add bubbles or tensile structures over the rooftop sports fields.

“All for the safety and comfort or your athletes,” he said. All athletic space would be free, programmed by the Trust.

The pier’s current sports fields would be closed for “one season” of sports during the construction, Blau said, though this could be up to 18 months. He apparently was not referring to soccer, which has fall and summer seasons. Related is exploring using barges for Little League and youth soccer during the interim.

Also in the new Related plan, a 57,000-square-foot real grass lawn on the pier’s south side replaces what would have been an amphitheater in the first plan. A “passive picnic park” on the roof in the pier’s southeast quadrant would also have real grass. More green space would be created on the pier’s east side where traffic would no longer drive across the pier’s front, but only in or out on two access roads.

Auto traffic to and from Pier 40 could be mitigated by controlling the starting and ending times of the pier’s various entertainment events, Blau added.

In addition, Related has added new safety measures regarding auto traffic entering and exiting the pier. The two crossings of the Hudson River Park bike path have been reduced from nine lanes to six lanes. Their new plan calls for on-foot safety agents to be posted at certain times and for stoplights, as exist at other points on the bike path. Bollards would prevent cars from entering the bike path.

Speaking later, Joanna Rose, a Related spokesperson, emphasized that Related not only will fix up the pier, but that giving the complex a long-term lease for the pier would provide ongoing revenue to “support the park for future generations.”

She said Related, Tribeca Film Festival and Cirque du Soleil are confident they can pull off the mega-development. Rose noted Related is one of the nation’s top private developers, with $15 billion in existing developments and $9 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.

Rose clarified that the barges for Little League would be moored and stabilized, and that they are permitted on a temporary basis.

‘Neither is acceptable’

Speaking on Monday, Tobi Bergman, president of Pier Park and Playground Association, a group advocating increased youth athletic opportunities, said the community likes the pier as is.

Rooftop fields are too hot compared to the protected courtyard, plus would require 50-foot-tall fences to keep hardballs from flying down onto the Cirque and movie theater crowds, he said.

“It would only take one catastrophic injury before they say, No baseball on the pier,” Bergman said.

Also, windscreens would be needed for rooftop fields, otherwise “every double would turn into a home run,” he said.

More important, in Bergman’s opinion, is the pier’s comfort factor.

“Right now, parents drop off their kids at Pier 40 and they know it’s a safe place,” Bergman said. “It’s completely different if you’re dropping them off at an entertainment complex. It’s no longer a park atmosphere. Tens of thousands of people is not really where you want your kids playing ball.”

While Bergman said Related’s second design is “much better” than its first one, he added that “the content” — Cirque du Soleil, a movieplex, concert hall, four restaurants, retail, banquet hall and more — is still the problem.

“The content is they’ve got a venue for 10,000 people or more,” he said. “You could have more than 10,000 people sitting down on the pier at once.”

Bergman said even “The People’s Pier” plan, which he previously supported, is not good enough, though he thinks it’s closer to acceptable.

“Given what a precious resource Pier 40 is, it’s going to have to be better,” he said.

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Old Posted Jun 8, 2007, 10:48 PM
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Pier 40 fields would stay open under Cirque plan

A schematic of the Pier 40 Performing Arts Center plan by The Related Companies.

By Lincoln Anderson

Responding to community complaints that its Pier 40 redevelopment plan would close the W. Houston St. pier’s sports fields for up to 18 months, The Related Companies has retooled its proposal so that the fields would remain open throughout the construction.

The developer is now proposing phased construction, building the pier project in successive sections, so that about half the pier’s footprint would always be open for use as sports fields.

Related’s plan calls for a pedestrian walkway extending down the middle of the pier at W. Houston St., creating both a view and retail corridor. Under the phased development, the pier’s existing two-story shed south of Houston St. would be razed and the pier deck covered with artificial sports turf, creating 4.5 acres of interim sports fields. The interim field space would be equal in size to the pier’s existing sports fields, located in its protected courtyard and on the roof’s southeast corner.

Meanwhile, Related would develop the pier’s north half, where the existing pier shed would be incorporated into the project. New fields would be added on top of the structure on the pier’s north side; once these fields were ready, the players would then move to this area, and the development of the pier’s southern side would start.

Related says the fields they would build would be better than the pier’s current fields, in that the turf will be installed over a layer of soft sand, as opposed to rubber.

Related recently hired Jay Kriegel, former executive director of NYC2012 — the organization that tried to lure the Olympics to New York City, to work on the project. Dep. Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, a Hudson River Park Trust board member, led the city’s Olympic bid effort, but Kriegel dismissed the importance of his previous relationship during a recent interview with Downtown Express and The Villager.

Regarding the pier, Kriegel said uninterrupted use of the fields is now “sacrosanct” as far as the developer is concerned.

“That issue is such a rally cry for the community. We heard that loud and clear — uninterrupted play,” Kriegel said.

Related is pitching a $626 million plan to outfit the 14-acre pier with a Cirque du Soleil theater, multiplex of small movie theaters showing independent films, music hall, banquet space, four restaurants and more. Meeting the requirement of the Hudson River Park Trust, the park’s operator, the developer must keep at least as much open sports field space as currently exists on the pier. Related would exceed the sports fields requirement by 40 percent by adding additional field space.

At a May 3 public hearing in Greenwich Village on Related’s plan, called Pier 40 Performing Arts Center, and a rival plan, The People’s Pier, more than 1,500 people turned out, most to voice support for keeping the existing fields, and preferably for increasing the pier’s amount of athletic space. At the time, Related was proposing having the young Little Leaguers and Downtown United Soccer Club members use barges to play on during the interim of the construction.

As Tom Ellett, Greenwich Village Little League president, put it then: “We say no to interim fields! We say no to removing our fields! We say no to rooftop fields! We say no to baseball on barges!”

Although their plan now features uninterrupted use of the sports fields, the amount of traffic-drawing commercial activity on the pier — another major community concern — would be the same. The developer estimates the pier would draw 2.7 million visitors annually and, on average, 7,400 per day.

Asked about the project’s impact on the surrounding community and the Hudson River Park, Kriegel said, “This area is not really one of the hot spots for traffic.” Pier 40 is located a few blocks away from Canal St. and the Holland Tunnel. The block of Houston St. between West and Washington Sts. spanned by the St. John’s Building is a designated pollution “hot spot.”

As for the issue of putting ball fields on the roof, Anthony Fioravanti, a Related vice president, said they are doing wind studies and believe that the Hudson River’s prevailing winds are from the north. They are considering using the existing 40-foot gantry structure on the pier’s north rooftop — which would be preserved under their plan — to attach wind netting.

Related would invest $35 million to upgrade the pier’s infrastructure. They would install new support piles, using a special truck that would drill a hole in the pier deck and then screw — not pound — a pile into the river bottom.

Local reaction to Related’s new phased construction plan, however, was not particularly positive.

“I think that was one point,” Tobi Bergman, director of P3, the local youth sports advocacy group, said of keeping the fields open during construction. “It doesn’t focus on the core issue. For us, this is a park. Is this going to be a park? Or is this going to be a tourist center where children also get to play ball?”

Echoed Assemblymember Deborah Glick, “The problem with the proposal is not whether they do phased development. The problem is the use of the waterfront and dramatic overdevelopment.”

Downtown Express will give an update on The People’s Pier plan — the other development project being considered for Pier 40 — in an upcoming issue.
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2007, 1:12 PM
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Take me to the river: Pier overhauls throughout the city
About 20 projects to develop piers for commercial, recreational use

Two renderings of the Related Companies' vision for Pier 40 on Houston Street.

By John Celock

Developers hope to duplicate the success of riverfront projects like Chelsea Piers at numerous pier sites around the city.

At least 20 projects to develop neglected and underused reminders of the city's days as a shipping hub are now under way or in the planning stages. The biggest projects are in Manhattan and Brooklyn, though Bronx and Staten Island wharves are also being eyed.

Most of the Brooklyn pier projects focus on commercial use, with the exception of Brooklyn Bridge Park, which adds recreational space along the Downtown Brooklyn waterfront and will be financially supported by residential buildings on the site. In Manhattan, over a dozen piers, mainly on the West Side, are being redeveloped for transportation and recreational uses.

Observers see the increased activity as a natural outgrowth of the development policies stressed by the Bloomberg administration, which made opening up the waterfront a priority.

Francis Greenburger, founder of Time Equities, said he is not surprised to see interest in developing the piers. The success of Chelsea Piers as a pricey recreational area encouraged more developers to look toward working with the city on using vacant piers, he said.

Created in 1996, Chelsea Piers turned a 30-acre, four-pier site, previously used as a Sanitation Department garage, Traffic Violations Bureau impound lot and movie studio, into a recreational Xanadu offering golf, hockey, swimming, rock climbing and bowling. One pier later became part of the Hudson River Park, a 550-acre waterfront park.

Michael Braito, senior vice president of Chelsea Piers, said the complex is completely leased and sees about 4 million visitors a year. He declined to comment on the privately held operating company's profitability.

Greenburger said that while Chelsea Piers has had success, many developers have shied away from pier development projects.

"I think it is a special undertaking not many developers consider themselves experts in," he said.

[West Side story

Most West Side Manhattan piers can be used only for recreational uses under state legislation that created the Hudson River Park. The park's borders encompass 34 piers from Battery Park to 59th Street, but only 13 piers are used as public space. The rest are working space, used as ferry docks and municipal facilities such as an impound yard or cruise ship terminal space, and are not part of the park.

Historically, Manhattan's West Side was the center of the city's shipping and cruise line industry. Many of the piers along the West Side were condemned by the state in the 1970s during the failed attempt to construct a new highway along the West Side, and have since been used by the city or left to fall into serious disrepair.

Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city's Economic Development Corporation, said that while pier development is a city priority, no citywide master plan for it exists. Rather, she said, the piers are evaluated individually along with their surrounding neighborhoods to develop plans for each site.

"There are different reasons for different piers," Patterson said. "There is not one blanket answer."

Jobs at the Brooklyn waterfront

Earlier this year, the development corporation announced an agreement with the Axis Group to build an auto shipping and cargo facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park. The project aims to create several hundred jobs in the neighborhood and redevelop 14 acres of open space. Axis plans to use the space for new imported cars entering the country for wholesale distribution. In addition, the company plans on recruiting niche businesses for the site to help create jobs.

Axis is leasing the site from the city for 15 years with a five-year renewal option. The EDC has said the lease will bring the city $32 million in revenue. Axis has committed to hiring all employees from the Sunset Park and Red Hook communities.

A Bloomberg initiative, known as PlaNYC 2030, places an emphasis on open space and alternative transportation methods. Increased access to the waterfront has been a Bloomberg priority for several years and gained more traction with this plan, which was announced in April. One such example is taking place on the West Harlem waterfront.

As part of the project, which began in 2005, the pier at the end of 125th Street will be connected with Riverside Park. A new pier will be built for ferries to New Jersey. The project is near the proposed new campus of Columbia University in Manhattanville, which will extend the swath of classrooms and academic buildings from the existing Morningside Heights campus. The Columbia plan is considered a catalyst for new developments around 125th Street.

Related takes on Pier 40

Although it is better known for its residential projects, the Related Companies is one of two bidders competing to refurbish Pier 40, on Houston Street, on land controlled by the Hudson River Park Trust. Related has touted its plan as an entertainment complex similar to Chelsea Piers, incurring the wrath of neighborhood activists opposed to the plan.

According to a recent report, the price tag to fix Pier 40, a dilapidated ship terminal, now stands at $21 million. The facility will have to generate at least $7 million in annual income to help pay for maintenance of the park, Crain's reported.

Related's plans for the 14-acre site call for a $626 million complex that would create a permanent home for the Tribeca Film Festival, a theater for Cirque du Soleil and retain existing athletic fields for the community.

The other bid seems to have less of a chance of succeeding. Urban Dove, a nonprofit organization working with at-risk youth, and the Camp Group, a summer camp operator, would create what they call the People's Pier -- a $145 million project that would create additional park space, sports fields and a high school.

Area residents and activists have organized to fight Related's plan, which they call "Vegas on the Hudson" and say it will not serve neighborhood interests. A spokeswoman for Related declined to comment on the project, citing the controversy.

While the city's requirements for Pier 40 development proposals originally said projects need to generate at least $5 million to cover 40 percent of the park's maintenance costs, that figure has already grown. After the park is built, its annual maintenance cost will be between $16.8 million and $18.9 million.

In another threat to the plan, the Hudson River Park Trust is short on cash needed complete construction of the 550-acre Hudson River Park, leaving the fate of development at Pier 40 in jeopardy. The city and state gave the trust just $10 million this year, its smallest award ever.

The cash crunch may also impact two additional pier projects at Piers 25 and 26 in Tribeca, near North Moore Street. The trust is seeking developers for projects to replace older piers torn down two years ago.

At the time, Gov. George Pataki announced plans to rebuild a boathouse and create a miniature golf course on the site, but it remains unused today. There are no piers, just abandoned wood pilings poking out of the Hudson.

Plans outlined last month call for Pier 25 to have fields and gardens, and for Pier 26 to house kayak docks and a river research center. In addition, Pier A, at the southern end of Manhattan, is likely to be redeveloped for recreational needs. (See other story on page 72 and this page.)

Also in Manhattan, the city is looking to develop several new piers on the East River as recreational space, with the goal of connecting the East River and Hudson River parks via Fulton Street and other East River parks, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial adjacent to 55 Water Street.

This includes Pier 17, site of the South Street Seaport, a mall now slated for demolition and redevelopment. Plans for Pier 17 call for a combination of retail, residential and open space development. Published reports said the developer, General Growth Properties, is considering a tall, iconic building on the site, along with a ferry landing.

In Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park is being built on several piers along the East River. In an unusual public and private partnership, the park will be sustained by private residential development on the site. Later this year, RAL Companies will complete One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 449-unit condominium building, the largest industrial-to-residential conversion in Brooklyn's history.

As The Real Deal reported earlier, RAL agreed to pay a share of the park's maintenance costs, starting at $1.25 million a year, which could be followed by cost hikes and additional lump-sum payments if the development hits revenue targets. When gross sales exceed $500 million, the contribution begins at $3 million. That deal is being criticized by some who say officials gave RAL a sweetheart deal on public land. A lawsuit brought by civic activists was dismissed last fall.

A portion of the park has already been completed. Eventually, the 85-acre park will have hills, open plazas, lawns, wetlands, meadows, tidal pools, dunes, marshes, a coastal forest, an aviary island, and 40 acres of playgrounds.

Brooklyn and Manhattan are not the only boroughs to see more pier development. Several projects are pending in the Bronx. Pier 1 in Staten Island, alongside the ferry terminal, will be renovated soon. The 895-foot pier, which currently contains a ball field, the borough's 9/11 memorial and fishing areas, will be designed for increased recreational uses, and a developer has been selected for the project.

Learn from New Jersey

Greenburger believes the city needs to move away from designating outer borough piers for industrial uses and offer more riverfront recreational space. He said that will help spur residential development along the Queens waterfront. Greenburger encouraged city officials to gaze over the Hudson River to New Jersey for inspiration.

"While New York debated, Jersey City acted," Greenburger said of the Garden State's second-largest city, which has seen a residential and commercial building boom on its waterfront over the last decade. Hoboken, just to the north of Jersey City, has partnered with Toll Brothers to re-create several new piers as parks. "If you go to Jersey City, you see an extraordinary amount of waterfront development done well. If you go to Queens, you see a lot of development not done well."
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2007, 11:45 PM
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so whats the decision?
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2008, 9:27 AM
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March 28, 2008

Hudson River Park officials yesterday shelved a controversial plan to build a $625 million performing-arts complex - including a home for Cirque du Soleil - on Manhattan's decaying Pier 40.

The center, proposed by The Related Companies, was one of two bids to redevelop the pier for public-recreation and commercial uses that would rehabilitate the 14-acre structure and generate cash for the park.

Diana Taylor, who chairs the Hudson River Park Trust, told the park's board that growing problems with cracking concrete inside the pier structure had already forced two tenants to relocate and may soon restrict some of the commercial parking.

Related's plan, while opposed by community groups that use Pier 40 for its soccer and baseball fields, was the most financially viable, but the proposal required a 49-year lease, and state law establishing the park permits leases only as long as 30 years.

Taylor said a second bidder, the Camp Group, wants to use the pier for a day camp and recreational facility for children.
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2008, 2:51 AM
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Related can't get anything done.
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2008, 4:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Dale View Post
Related can't get anything done.
They've finally gotten "Lake Related" under constructon on 42nd...
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“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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Old Posted Jul 10, 2008, 1:51 PM
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With city schools, Pier 40 plan may make the grade

By Lincoln Anderson
July 4 - 10, 2008

Giving a major boost to a plan to keep Pier 40 afloat as a community-friendly, low-impact part of Hudson River Park, the New York City School Construction Authority wants to build up to three high schools on the sprawling W. Houston St. pier.

On June 2, Sharon Greenberger, S.C.A. president and C.E.O., wrote to Noreen Doyle, Hudson River Park Trust vice president, “to confirm the S.C.A.’s interest in the potential development of a new public high school facility on Pier 40.”

“Pier 40’s location, size and unique location within the Hudson River Park make it a strong candidate for new public school development, and one that we would like to explore with the Hudson River Park Trust in further detail,” Greenberger wrote.

The news was announced three weeks ago by Chris McGinnis — a member of the Pier 40 Partnership and the coordinator of the Greenwich Village Little League’s Majors A Division — at the league’s end-of-season awards, held on Pier 40.

McGinnis said the Partnership didn’t go public with the announcement until it received clearance from S.C.A.

“Based on preliminary assessment of the existing conditions and opportunities at Pier 40,” Greenberger wrote Doyle, “we believe that an approximately 1,650-seat high school facility, containing approximately 210,000 gross square feet, and an open recreational space could be developed on the north side of the pier. …[A] high school facility could be accommodated in portions of the main and second levels of the existing structure (approximately 6,000 and 80,000 square feet, respectively), and construction of two new additional floors with a footprint of approximately 75,000 square feet above. This would also allow for the provision of open-air recreation space on the second level, adjoining the proposed new construction. …”

Included along with S.C.A.’s formal expression-of-interest letter were diagrams of how the planned school facilities would fit into three floors on the pier’s northern side; different-colored areas depict classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, gym space, science labs and so on.

Greenberger, in her letter, states S.C.A. would be willing to take less than 210,000 square feet on the pier and “explore alternative configurations.” Yet, she said, S.C.A. requires a minimum of 150,000 square feet “in order to meet the needs of two small high school organizations.”

Although Greenberger’s letter doesn’t say anything about developing three schools on the pier, McGinnis said the Partnership’s understanding is that the number would be three. More to the point, the Partnership would like one of these three to be a middle school — which would serve students graduating from P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 — since the Village area has a pressing need for a new middle school, he said.

Based on the number of seats stated in the letter, each high school would have 550 students, according to McGinnis.

For three months, the Pier 40 Partnership — an ad-hoc group of local parents with children in the youth sports leagues using Pier 40’s fields — has been working with Urban Dove/Camp Group to produce a new redevelopment plan for Pier 40. The Trust gave them a deadline of the end of this month. The combined team hopes the Trust’s directors will then pick their proposal at the end of next month at the Trust’s scheduled board meeting.

Both Urban Dove/Camp Group and the Partnership originally had called for school space in their separate proposals for Pier 40. Bob Kerrey, The New School’s president, earlier had expressed strong interest in the education space in the Partnership’s plan.

As well as S.C.A., the Partnership had also been talking to New Visions, a group with the power to create new charter schools.

Richard Dattner, architect for Urban Dove/Camp Group, is now checking to make sure S.C.A.’s plan to add a structure atop Pier 40 works within the park’s guidelines.

The fact that S.C.A. is interested in space on the 15-acre pier is nothing short of a home run for the Little League-loving Partnership members. The group’s goal always has been to preserve the pier’s ball fields for their kids, while keeping The Related Companies from mega-developing the pier with a Cirque du Soleil/Tribeca Film Festival complex. The Trust disqualified Related’s application in March after Related couldn’t make its financials work within the Hudson River Park Act’s 30-year lease restriction for the pier.

When he heard the news of S.C.A.’s interest, McGinnis said, “I was doing the wave — and so was the rest of the Pier 40 Partnership. We were very happy. It’s huge.”

Many of the Partnership’s leading members are financial investors and businesspersons, so they understand the significance of having a Bloomberg administration agency potentially onboard.

“The S.C.A. is part of the city,” McGinnis said. “Its bond rating is double ‘A’. The city is known to pay its bills. The S.C.A. is like having someone with a Good Housekeeping Seal of approval. And the fact that they want this much square footage. …”

The Partnership and Urban Dove/Camp Group have been meeting three times a week since March 27. McGinnis assured that Urban Dove/CampGroup is heading the combined redevelopment proposal.

“They have the lead and we’re partnering with them,” he said. “It was their proposal, and we’re just trying to factor in.”

Urban Dove/CampGroup responded to the request for proposals, or R.F.P., for Pier 40 that the Trust issued a year and a half ago.

The Partnership members recently signed the confidentiality agreement required of the R.F.P. respondents. As a result, McGinnis said he couldn’t reveal much about the proposal that will be presented to the Trust at the end of this month. (On the other hand, McGinnis said the Partnership could make public S.C.A.’s expression-of-interest letter since S.C.A. gave the Partnership clearance.)

On July 2, the Pier 40 Working Group received the first public presentation of the new plan. A public hearing also has been set for Wed., July 16.

McGinnis said the Pier 40 proposal will include 80,000 square feet on the pier for the Trust’s administrative offices, vehicles and the like, plus 600,000 square feet for parking. The idea is to use stackers to minimize the space needed for parking.

“Operation of the pier’s existing ball fields will basically be the same as now,” he said, “but some details are being worked out.”

The Partnership’s original plan included space for a “visual arts market,” offering low-rent, artists’ studios. Asked if that was still part of the plan, McGinnis indicated it wasn’t, saying only, “They [Urban Dove/Camp Group] are the lead.”

He did say, however, that one of the Partnership’s main ideas — a Pier 40 conservancy that would raise millions of dollars to repair the pier — was still part of the concept.

“That kind of merged in,” he said of the conservancy scheme. “Details of that one are being worked out now.”

The crumbling steel-and-concrete former shipping pier needs an estimated $120 million in repairs to its roof and its support pilings — which the designated development team would be required to fund, as well as paying for the pier’s ongoing maintenance over the course of a lease of at least 30 years.

Jai Nanda, founder and director of Urban Dove — a nonprofit organization helping New York City public school students to excel through sports activities and education — confirmed that the arts market is out.

“The arts market was never part of our plan,” he stated. “So, I think what we’re going to submit to the Trust is going to closely resemble our original plan.”

Urban Dove/Camp Group’s initial plan included about 60,000 square feet for boutique-size retail stores, such as for sporting goods, in keeping with Pier 40’s athletic-use theme.

“The retail space being turned into an arts market — we experimented with that and it didn’t seem to be a viable option,” Nanda said. A pricey summer day camp, to be run by CampGroup, is also part of the proposal.

He confirmed that a Pier 40 conservancy is a component of their idea.

As for S.C.A.’s interest in the pier, Nanda said he was “very excited.”

Yet, while acknowledging that the Trust wants an R.F.P respondent to lead the proposal, he downplayed any hierarchy.

“As far as being the lead, we consider ourselves partners,” Nanda said, “and what we submit will reflect that.

“We’re feeling very good about it,” he said of the team effort with the Partnership. “We’ve made a lot of progress.”

The Department of Education and Trust both said nothing is set regarding schools on Pier 40 and that the R.F.P. process is still ongoing.

“We’re still doing evaluation of the R.F.P.’s,” said Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson. “The fact that they’ve approved it will go into consideration,” he said of S.C.A.’s stated interest in the pier. Everything will be examined when the final plan is submitted at this month’s end, he said.

Margie Feinberg, a D.O.E. spokesperson, said the department must defer to the Trust on building schools on Pier 40.

“There is a letter of intent,” she said. “It’s a park. We cannot build in a park — period. Only the Hudson River Park can decide what can be built there. We said we’d like to sit down and discuss it; it’s a vacant site.”

Whereas high schools are not zoned, middle schools are, Feinberg said, meaning, if there was a middle school on Pier 40, local kids would be given preference.

Brad Hoylman, Community Board 2 chairperson, said, “By locating school space on the pier, we kill two birds with one stone. One, Pier 40 will be maximized for public — not commercial — uses. And, two, much-needed classroom space is created in our neighborhood, giving kids a better classroom experience, and parents more options.”

Another site parents and education advocates are eyeing for a middle school is the state-owned building at 75 Morton St., currently housing state agencies, but which the state is hoping to sell.

Lisa Willner, a spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corporation, said she could not answer questions about whether the building would be sold without restrictions to a private developer or sold specifically for use as a school.

“The invitation to bid [an R.F.P.] on 75 Morton St. has not yet been released,” Willner said. “Until the invitation to bid has been finalized, we cannot answer your questions.”

D.O.E.’s Feinberg said, “Any vacant space is always attractive,” but said she couldn’t comment more about 75 Morton St., and noted the state plans to issue an R.F.P. for it.

As for The New School and arts market, Arthur Schwartz, Pier 40 Working Group chairperson, said they’re both now part of a proposal by developer Douglas Durst for Pier 57, at W. 16th St. Schwartz said S.C.A. wants so much space on Pier 40, there’s no room left there for The New School, while both an arts market with galleries and The New School’s Parsons arts school are natural fits at Pier 57, near the Chelsea arts scene.
NEW YORK. World's capital.

“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2008, 2:56 PM
lewisblack lewisblack is offline
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The Performing arts pier looks so good I think this should be built but it has been going on for ages. Btw where did you get that pic of the pap that's so good.
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