Pier 55 Resurrected

John Hill
26. October 2017
Image: Pier55/Heatherwick Studio

The New York Times is reporting that, one month after Barry Diller pulled the plug on Thomas Heatherwick's Pier 55, the billionaire businessman is reviving the project.

Per the Times, "[In] an agreement brokered by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mr. Diller agreed to revive the project, known as 'Diller Island,' and opponents who had filed a series of lawsuits to stop the plan agreed to drop their legal battle." The lawsuits, apparently funded by the City Club of New York and developer Douglas Durst, combined with escalating costs, pushed the budget up to $250 million from $170 million, the initial budget when the project was announced in November 2014.

The lawsuits and extra costs led Diller to pull the plug last month, but now he says to the Times, "I’m going to make one last attempt to revive plans to build the park, so that the intended beneficiaries of our endeavor can fall in love with Pier 55 in the way all of us have." Who those beneficiaries are depends on who is telling the Pier 55 story: it could be the broader public accessing the park or rich patrons invited to private events on the park lifted upon 300 mushroom-cap columns.

Key to the project's resurrection, per the Times again, is Governor Cuomo's pledge to complete the Hudson River Park, of which Pier 55 would be a public/private component of, "and to protect the marine estuary from development." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio "applauded Mr. Diller’s philanthropy and that his administration stood ready to assist in making the project happen." With so much back and forth and drama swirling around the project over the last few years, please excuse us if we don't hold our breath just yet – we'll do that once the mushroom-cap columns protrude from the surface of Hudson River.

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