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Thread: Pier 57 - Hudson River Park

  1. #61
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    This MF sure got off light ...

    How about all the $$ he has cost NYers due to delays and tom-foolery?

    Quote Originally Posted by projectsnyc View Post

    Former G.O.P. Official Admits He Evaded Taxes

    The former chairman of the New York County Republican Committee admitted yesterday that he had evaded taxes and violated state ethics law ...

    James A. Ortenzio ... pleaded guilty to tax evasion and to violating the financial disclosure law for public officials.

    He made the guilty plea as part of a deal with prosecutors, in exchange for a sentence of five years’ probation. But he must file amended tax returns and pay back taxes and penalties ...

    The investigation began with an anonymous tip that Mr. Ortenzio was trying to use his influence to obtain a contract for Cipriani at Pier 57 ...

    ... proposal to redevelop Pier 57 at West 15th Street into an event and catering site was a joint venture of Steve Witkoff and Giuseppe Cipriani, but has been on hold since the investigation began...

  2. #62

    Default Pier 57 process is barely afloat three years later

    downtownexpress.com

    Volume 20, Number 33 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Dec. 28, 2007 - Jan. 3, 2008


    By Lincoln Anderson

    Although there has been intense focus on Pier 40 at W. Houston St. lately as the process to pick a possible developer for it is nearing completion, another Hudson River Park pier, Pier 57 at W. 16th St., is also drawing renewed attention.

    Several weeks ago, the Manhattan district attorney’s ongoing investigation into the Pier 57 redevelopment process concluded as James Ortenzio, former chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors, pleaded guilty to a felony tax violation and a failure to make a financial disclosure under the state’s Public Officers Law. Both incidents occurred after Ortenzio had stepped down as the Trust’s chairperson to head the Manhattan Republican County Committee.

    The affair’s conclusion seemed to affirm the adage that when an investigation basically comes up empty, then, so as not to be a total loss, “they get you on taxes.”

    Previously the investigation nailed heads of the Cipriani restaurant empire on tax violations and a Cipriani associate for insurance fraud. The investigation was triggered by an anonymous letter sent to the Manhattan D.A. that raised doubts about the integrity of the Pier 57 redevelopment bid process.

    Close to three years ago, in April 2005, a partnership of the Witkoff Group and Cipriani won the bid for Pier 57. Chelsea Piers also responded to the Trust’s request for proposals, or R.F.P., for Pier 57, but lost out on the bid.

    The widespread suspicion was that Chelsea Piers sent the letter to head off major competition just a few blocks to its south, but Chelsea Piers’ principals deny the letter came from them.

    Cipriani — which would have run a major banquet hall at Pier 57 — subsequently dropped out of the Pier 57 project in September 2006. The Related Companies reportedly then stepped into the picture, replacing Cipriani as Witkoff’s partner. But with the process so long in limbo, it’s unclear if Related’s even still involved at this point.

    Now, with Ortenzio’s pleas, the investigation over and nothing found in connection with Pier 57, the question is whether the pier’s development finally can start moving.

    At the Trust’s board of directors meeting at the end of November, Julie Nadel, a board member, expressed frustration with the Pier 57 gridlock.

    “It’s been three years since the request for proposals was put out,” Nadel said, adding that she wasn’t asking for the project to be rebid. “I think that the time is now to put that to bed. It was kind of a tainted pier because of the Republican National Convention,” Nadel added.

    A former bus depot, the Chelsea pier — its floor still smeared with antifreeze and other toxic chemicals — infamously was used as a holding pen for hundreds of arrested protesters during the 2004 convention.

    “I could not agree with you more,” Diana Taylor, the Trust’s chairperson, told Nadel. “It is so frustrating having that pier sit there.” Taylor noted that the Trust was talking with attorneys and the city’s Department of Investigation about kick-starting the pier’s redevelopment.

    Former State Senator Franz Leichter, also a Trust board member, explained that while the D.A.’s Pier 57 investigation had been going on, under a parallel review, D.O.I. “refused to clear the developer.”

    “Now that the D.A. has concluded his investigation, we ought to see if the city Department of Investigation will give us the Vendex clearance,” Leichter said. “If they’re not going to give the clearance, we’re going to have to look at it and consider starting it all over again.”

    “Those conversations are going on right now,” Taylor assured, though adding, “It’s tricky.”

    Every person or company that contracts with the city must fill out a comprehensive disclosure form known as Vendex that is vetted by D.O.I.

    With Taylor making a reference to “litigation” in connection with Pier 57, she then convened a closed-door executive session of the Trust’s board at the end of the public meeting. Speculation was that the session concerned how the Trust might defend itself from litigation if it tried to sever its relationship with Witkoff at Pier 57.

    A source connected with Witkoff who requested anonymity said everything regarding Pier 57 was put on hold during the investigation, so the entire process is literally at square one.

    “There is no conversation that litigation is in the works,” the source maintained. He said that it could take several years before the pier’s redevelopment begins. A full environmental impact statement, or E.I.S., must be conducted, followed by a uniform land use review procedure, or ULURP.

    “If everything was a green light tomorrow, we’re talking years,” he predicted. “It’s clearly north of three.”

    There is speculation that Steve Witkoff’s name’s appearance in the Bernard Kerik probe is a factor in the stalled Pier 57 Vendex approval. Witkoff provided Kerik with an Upper East Side apartment from December 2001 to December 2003, paying the $9,650 monthly rent — a total of more than $236,000. Kerik asked for Witkoff’s help with the apartment while he was still New York City police commissioner, and the developer made the payments because the two “anticipated doing business in the future,” according to the D.A.

    Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said the D.O.I. Vendex review of Witkoff’s plan to redevelop Pier 57 is “still ongoing.”

    “After D.O.I. issues its Vendex clearance, the next step in the process would be the entering of a memo of understanding, M.O.U., between the Trust and the Witkoff Group,” Martin said. “During the M.O.U. time period, an E.I.S. and ULURP reviews would be conducted. Based on prior E.I.S. and ULURP review completion times, the Trust is hopeful that construction could begin 18 to 24 months after the reviews begin.”

    Asked if the Trust is looking to jettison Witkoff and start fresh, Martin said, “At this point we are waiting for D.O.I. to complete their Vendex so that we may move forward with the Pier 57 project with Witkoff as the developer.”

    Asked if The Related Companies is indeed still partnering with Witkoff at Pier 57, Martin responded: “Related was never part of their proposal.”

    Asked if the Witkoff Group plans to bring in any partner to run the banquet hall, Martin said: “Yes, but you should speak to Witkoff directly in regard to their progress.”

    Steve Witkoff did not return calls for comment.

  3. #63

    Default Will the Trust cancel the Pier 57 RFP on January 31st?

    DISTRICT ATTORNEY - NEW YORK COUNTY


    News Release
    November 15, 2007

    Contact: Barbara Thompson
    212.335.9400




    Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the guilty plea of JAMES A. ORTENZIO to tax evasion and violation of the Public Officers’ Law. ORTENZIO was the former Chairman of the Hudson River Park Trust and Chairman of the New York County Republican Party.

    ORTENZIO waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a felony tax charge and a misdemeanor violation of the Public Officers’ Law. In particular, ORTENZIO pleaded guilty to one count of a violation of Tax Law § 1804(b), False Returns or Reports, Personal Income and Earnings Taxes and one count of a violation of Public Officers Law § 73-a, Financial Disclosure. The defendant will receive a sentence of five years probation. In addition, pursuant to the plea agreement, the defendant will file amended and accurate tax returns for 2004 and 2005.

    Mr. Morgenthau said that ORTENZIO’s crimes occurred while he was the County Chairman of the New York County Republican Committee. From 1999 to 2003, ORTENZIO had served as the Chairman of the Hudson River Park Trust, a public benefit corporation created to develop and maintain the Hudson River Park, which stretches for about five miles along the Manhattan shoreline from Battery Place to 59th Street.

    Specifically, ORTENZIO was mandated by his position as the Chairman of the County Republican Committee to file an Annual Statement of Financial Disclosure with the New York State Ethics Commission. In September of 2004, he was paid $100,000 by Fisher Brothers Management Co., located at 299 Park Avenue, New York, New York, for certain consulting services. On June 13, 2005, ORTENZIO filed his calendar year 2004 Disclosure form, but intentionally omitted his payment from Fisher Brothers Management in an effort to prevent disclosing that he received the money.

    Additionally, in June of 2004, ORTENZIO was retained to arbitrate a business dispute involving two companies that provide helicopter flight services in Manhattan, Air Pegasus of New York, Inc. and Sightseeing Tours of America, Inc. Both companies are located on land belonging to the Hudson River Park Trust. ORTENZIO was paid approximately $80,000 in 2005 for his arbitration services. Subsequently, ORTENZIO filed false and fraudulent 2005 personal New York state tax returns by intentionally failing to disclose the income received from his mediation services.

    Mr. Morgenthau said that the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea commenced in November of 2005. Since then, the investigation has resulted in several convictions. On May 2, 2007, Dennis Pappas, former Vice-President of Cipriani USA, pleaded guilty to Attempted Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree for defrauding insurance companies out of more than $1,000,000. Pappas was sentenced on July 2, 2007 to 1 ½ to 4 ½ years in state prison and the payment of $1,017,000 in restitution.

    On July 31, 2007, Arrigo Cipriani, the patriarch of the Cipriani family business, Giuseppe Cipriani, the President and CEO of Cipriani USA, Inc., and three Cipriani corporations pleaded guilty to tax evasion. They were sentenced on October 10, 2007 to repayment of $10 million in back taxes. An independent monitor was also installed to ensure accurate tax treatment of all of the family’s businesses.

    ORTENZIO, who owns several meat processing companies, was a significant distributor of meat and other food products to Cipriani restaurants.

    Mr. Morgenthau thanked the New York City Department of Finance and its Commissioner Martha E. Stark, as well as its Assistant Commissioner for Tax Enforcement Carlton Butler; the Director of Tax Enforcement, Maureen Kokeas; Manager, Criminal Audit Tax Enforcement Division Robert Stahl; and Special Tax Auditor Franklin Hayes. The District Attorney also thanked the Acting New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and its Commissioner, Barbara Billett; Deputy Commissioner for Tax Enforcement William Comiskey, and Peter Farrell, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Tax Enforcement.

    Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Rackets Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Brian J. Fields are in charge of the prosecution. Financial Consultant John Tampa also assisted in the case, as did Senior Investigators James Mauritzen, Julian Yannotti and Supervising Investigator Stephen McCallion of the Investigation Bureau, which is headed by Chief Investigator Joseph Pennisi and Deputy Chief Terry Mulderrig.


    ###

  4. #64

    Default Witkoff Withdraws Proposal for Pier 57

    It's official, according to Noreen Doyle, VP of the Hudson River Park Trust at tonight's Advisory Board Meeting, the Witkoff Group withdrew their proposal for Pier 57 (Leonardo's) last week.

  5. #65

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    Developer Quits Pier 57 Project, a Big Setback

    By PETER KIEFER
    Staff Reporter of the Sun
    January 25, 2008

    Developer Steven Witkoff has withdrawn from the development of Pier 57, putting an end to the estimated $400 million project that would have transformed the old waterfront into a landscaped public space replete with a bridge to the High Line, a marina, a museum, and a gourmet banquet hall.

    The move sets back by at least two years any future development there.
    Last week, the Witkoff Group alerted the Hudson River Park Trust — a state and city agency charged with developing the 5-mile Hudson River Park — that it was formally withdrawing its involvement.

    The project has been marred by delays centered for the most part on the Witkoff Group's involvement in the Manhattan district attorney's investigation of a former chairman of the New York Republican County Committee, James Ortenzio, who is also a former chairman of the Hudson River Park Trust. In November Ortenzio pleaded guilty to a felony tax violation and failure to make a financial disclosure under the state's Public Officers Law.

    Mr. Witkoff's business relationship with Ortenzio drew the notice of law enforcement investigators last year while they were in the process of making the tax evasion case against Ortenzio, a source said. Investigators found no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Witkoff. According to a source with knowledge of Ortenzio's business dealings, in 2005, two years after Ortenzio had stepped down as chairman of the Hudson River Park Trust, he received a Mercedes from Mr. Witkoff.

    Messages left for Mr. Ortenzio's lawyer seeking comment were not returned.

    The Ortenzio investigation by the DA did affect the Trust's willingness to conclude the deal. The trust wanted to know that the RFP process was beyond reproach," Mr. Witkoff's government and community relations adviser, James Capalino, said. "And the investigation to the best of my knowledge did not find any problems with the RFP process and was judged, by everyone, to be ethical."

    Mr. Witkoff's decision to withdraw involvement now forces the Hudson River Park Trust, which initially awarded the project to a partnership of Mr. Witkoff and the Cipriani restaurant three years ago, to start from scratch.

    "Although the withdrawal of the Witkoff Group from the development project is a disappointment, the Hudson River Park Trust will re-evaluate its options in moving forward with the ultimate goal, as always, of fulfilling its mission of completing the park," the trust said in a statement.

    Responding to questions via e-mail, a spokesman for the trust, Christopher Martin, said the board was in the process of considering its next step, but said the trust did not expect to see any construction on the pier for at least two years.

    "At this point the Board has to weigh their options. Certainly it is a possibility that they will recommend issuing another RFP, but they need to discuss it," he said in an e-mail message.

    The project's delay represents a setback for Hudson River Park, the narrow, five-mile stretch of grassy lawns and bicycle paths running between Chambers Street and 59th Street along the far West Side, created in 1998.

    The park's overseers, the Hudson River Park Trust, have sought to leverage private sector money to rebuild and open to the public the crumbling piers that stretch out into the river. A decision about how to develop Pier 40, near Houston Street, is stalled due to community concerns regarding a plan by the Related Companies to build a permanent New York City home for Cirque du Soleil. A decision is expected soon. In court, park advocates have been trying to oust the 30th Street Heliport on the grounds of excess noise and noxious fumes.

    Mr. Capalino said the decision to withdraw was based on the lengthy amount of time that had passed from when the project was originally designated and the increasing costs of developing and maintaining waterfront structures.

    "It is very expensive to maintain and it was his position that this is a highly unfavorable financing market for a project that is this adventuresome because it is putting a lot of retail on the waterfront," he said.

    According to Mr. Capalino, the total cost of the project could have exceeded $450 million, and he estimated Mr. Witkoff had already spent between $1 million and $2 million on pre-development costs.

    A major blow to the project was sustained in September 2006, when the Cipriani family, led by Giuseppe Cipriani, dropped out of the Pier 57 project.

    The original plan called for the Ciprianis to run a major banquet hall on the pier.

    The decision also comes as the financial outlook for New York City and the nation becomes increasingly bleak and, according to Mr. Capalino, may serve as undesirable harbinger of things to come.

    "Look, if the markets continue in this fashion is it going to have an effect on these large scale projects? You bet."

    Copyright 2008 The New York Sun.

  6. #66

    Default

    It sounds like there's some progress on Pier 57 (as well as hope for Related's bid on Pier 40) on the Hudson. That's only a good thing, I suppose, since passing by Pier 57 by street, or by water, is always a heartbreaker.

    Still, I hope the development can spare the pier. Pier 57 is, in my opinion, extremely cool. Like something out of "Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow" or "The Rocketman," mixed with an archetypal '50s diner. As 50s Futurist as they come.



    -------------------------------------------
    Plans for Pier Development May Yet Float
    By Peter Kiefer
    The Sun

    The Hudson River Park Trust is trying to breathe new life into two mixed-use development projects along the waterfront.
    Yesterday, the chairwoman of the Hudson River Park Trust, Diana Taylor, said she expects to send out a new request for proposals for Pier 57 in the next couple of months.
    Plans for developing Pier 57 fell apart in January when developer Steven Witkoff withdrew, putting an end to the estimated $400 million project.
    The Trust could also revive the Related Cos. plan to build a permanent New York City home for Cirque du Soleil at Pier 40, near West Houston Street, Ms. Taylor said.
    In March, the Trust found that Related's $600 million plan, which also included a space for the TriBeCa Film Festival and rooftop athletic fields, was unfeasible because of Related's demand that it be given a 50-year lease for Pier 40. An extended lease would require a waiver from the state Legislature.
    Ms. Taylor said the Trust is waiting to see what the Pier 40 Partnership, a community group formed by neighborhood parents, and the Camp Group, a consortium that organizes day camps, are able to come up with as a counterproposal.
    A spokeswoman for Related declined to comment.
    Ms. Taylor said the Trust expected 80% of construction for the 550-acre Hudson River Park, which extends five miles along the Manhattan shoreline, to be completed by 2010.
    http://www.nysun.com/new-york/plans-...t-float/78950/

    -------------------------------------
    Construction Surges at Hudson River Park
    By Natalie Dolce

    NEW YORK CITY-Hudson River Park Trust chair Diana Taylor and president Connie Fishman today revealed that there is currently $170 million of construction activity now happening at Pier 25, 26, 62, 63, 64, and 86 here, and it will soon undergo a surge in construction--with the goal of completing 80% of the park by 2010. An additional $110 million in activity is expected to start in the coming months. The major sections of construction activities currently are in Tribeca and Chelsea.
    In addition, a new request for proposals for the development of Pier 57 is to be released within the next couple of months. The 300,000-sf pier at West 15th Street, a city bus garage until 2003, will be offered for redevelopment with uses that are allowed under the Hudson River Park Act.
    Since construction of the park began in 1999, roughly $350 million in capital funds from the state and New York City and the federal government have been used to build 10 new piers and about 2.5 miles of upland park area, according to Taylor. It is the largest recreational amenity and open space to be built in Manhattan since the opening of Central Park more than 150 years ago, she told attendees at a media briefing Thursday morning. Hudson River Park Trust is a partnership between New York State and City charged with the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the five-mile Hudson River Park.
    Early this summer, the newest section of the park, running from Laight Street in Tribeca up to Houston Street will open to the public, and another new public pier in Chelsea is expected to open by the end of the year. The Tribeca section of the park was built with $70 million in funds obtained from the federal government through the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to assist in New York City’s recovery from the 9/11 attacks, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. The Tribeca section will include a playground, practice recreation field, mini-golf and snack bar, beach volleyball courts, historic ships, mooring field , skate park, basketball, comfort station, boathouse and waterside café, an estuary research center, dog run, tennis and public art. A mile-long waterfront esplanade will offer native grasses, trees and gardens, landscaped seating areas, and a seaside boardwalk. The northern half of this section will open this summer, according to Taylor.
    "Commercial activities such as parking at Pier 40 and Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex generate most of the funds needed to maintain and operate the park on an annual basis; in the future however we know that those funds will not meet our entire fiscal need," Taylor said, which is the reason for issuing a new RFP for the development of Pier 57. "We are also hoping to conclude our review of proposed uses for a development at Pier 40 in the next several months to create a mix of recreational playing fields, parking and new commercial or educational uses on that 15 acre site. These two developments will help produce the money needed to maintain and operate a great park well into the future.
    The park continues to take shape, the level of funding needed to maintain it and offer high quality programming increases, added Fishman. "Therefore, it is essential that we move forward with the development of the revenue-generating commercial nodes in a way that supports the park and guarantees its future."

    http://www.globest.com/news/1168_116.../171157-1.html
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  7. #67

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    Another RFP issued for pier 57

  8. #68

    Default

    I find it interesting to see how NYC is trying to make a vibrant riverfront from an abandoned waterfront versus how Amsterdam
    reinvented their abandoned docks. Amsterdam wins hands down. They have adapted, in some cases mile long, docks into a low rise residential development with access both to the water and to the land via bikes and walking paths. The low rise structures are built to accommodate first floor "mom and pop" type stores, not the usual high end "designer outlets." I find it great.

    While NYC struggles to make this "perfect" Hudson River park, Amsterdam extends their viable neighborhoods without the glass block megaliths fronting the sea. Although there are pivotal structures in the project, they are more like signposts rather than the American tombstone style of structure.


    I remember the west side waterfront when almost every street ended in a pier, albeit with a tooth or two missing in that massing. I am all for a mix of pastoral settings and realistic low rise commercial uses on the waterfront. How else can the park support itself? NYC is not downtown San Antonio.

  9. #69

    Default

    New York Sun

    Pier 57 Could Soon Join In 14th Street Transformation

    By PETER KIEFER, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 2, 2008

    For decades, Pier 57 has been more vestigial than commercial: A onetime engineering marvel, it was relegated to serve as a waterfront bus garage and maintenance facility after the 1960s, when large passenger and freight ship traffic waned on Manhattan's West Side.

    Now, some of the city's top developers are jockeying for the right to unlock the potential of Pier 57 and transform it into a key commercial node vital to the long-term expansion of the Hudson River Park.

    As 14th Street has been transformed into a commercial and cultural corridor between Union Square and the meatpacking district, Pier 57 stands waiting at its westernmost edge, offering dramatic views of the Hudson.

    With proposals due in a month, representatives of the Durst Organization, Vornado Realty Trust, and the Related Cos. have toured the site, and some are finalizing proposals for the 300,000-square-foot pier situated between 15th and 16th streets, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the process.

    That some of the city's top developers are ready to take another swing at the chance to develop Pier 57 makes sense to many observers, who note the success of both the Chelsea Piers and Battery Park City and the limited remaining opportunities for a mixed-use waterfront development project. Piers 57 and 40 are the only remaining sites available for private commercial development on Manhattan's West Side waterfront south of 59th Street.

    "Increasingly, developers have gotten much more comfortable with the idea of bringing activity to the waterfront. It is a proven commodity, and access to the water and the views are things that people want," the director of environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association, Robert Pirani, said in an interview. "It is an outgrowth of the desire of New Yorkers to get down to the water. The Hudson and the harbor are no longer old industrial places and have great amenities to offer."

    There are also many challenges, ranging from enormous start-up costs — up to $100 million for structural repairs alone — to fierce resistance from residential groups.

    A $600 million plan by Related to build a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil, a space for the Tribeca Film Festival, and rooftop athletic fields at Pier 40 was blocked due in part to opposition by local resident groups.

    "I think people are very nervous about the cost. It is a big, big investment, and they have to figure out how to pay for it," a developer who considered entering a proposal for Pier 57, who asked not to be identified, said.

    The Hudson River Park Trust has said it is open to a mix of restaurant, retail, recreational, educational, and cultural facilities.

    Other possible uses being considered are conference halls, banquet space, and parking, all of which fall within the confines of the stated criteria issued in the most recent request for proposals.

    Before it unraveled in the spring, developer Steven Witkoff was moving forward with a $400 million proposal that would have transformed the old waterfront into a landscaped public space with a bridge to the High Line, a marina, a museum, and a gourmet banquet hall.

    Given the contraction in credit markets over the past six months and the overall state of the financial markets, few are expecting as grandiose a proposal for Pier 57 as that put forth by Mr. Witkoff.

    As Mr. Pirani says, though, New York's waterfront is still far off from its realizable potential.

    "If you think of this city 30 years ago, who would have guessed that the kind of uses we are seeing along the waterfront?" he said.

  10. #70

    Default Pier 57 responses?

    Does anyone know how many proposals were submitted and by whom?

  11. #71

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    New York Observer

    Ross, Durst Set To Battle for Pier 57 Development Rights

    by Eliot Brown | October 21, 2008


    Michael Nagle.
    Douglas Durst.


    The bruising, drawn-out skirmish over the development of Pier 40 in the far West Village apparently has not scared the development world away from the water. A few blocks to the north, by West 15th Street, another site, Pier 57, has attracted the eyes of real estate heavies, as three firms submitted bids to the Hudson River Park Trust on Oct. 17 to develop the pier, numerous people familiar with the bids told The Observer.

    Stephen Ross’ Related Companies, the firm that was beaten back earlier this year by Village residents from creating a mega-entertainment complex at Pier 40, is back for more, as is Douglas Durst, in a joint venture between his Durst Organization and C & K Properties. Young Woo & Associates, a smaller developer that recently built the 20-story Chelsea Arts Tower on West 25th Street, is also bidding.

    More in Wednesday's Observer print edition.


    © 2008 Observer Media Group, All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

  12. #72

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    Downtown Express

    Volume 21, Number 26 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 7 - 12, 2008

    Downtown Express file photo

    Looking north to Pier 57, which three companies recently submitted bids to develop.

    Schools, a pool, art? Floating possibilities for yet another pier
    By Heather Murray

    Two developers who have already tried and failed to win the right to develop Pier 40 at W. Houston St. have answered the Hudson River Park Trust’s second attempt to secure a successful bid for Chelsea’s Pier 57, the Trust’s other prized West Side waterfront parcel currently up for grabs.

    The Durst Organization, in a partnership with C&K Properties, as well as The Related Companies both threw in their hats once again, along with Young Woo and Associates, a smaller developer best known in the community for the W. 25th St. Chelsea Arts Tower building.

    The Trust is currently reviewing the proposals and has declined to comment so far. But spokesperson John Marino said that some information would be released as soon as this week. Reached for comment, all three companies declined to comment on the proposals, saying that the Trust had asked them not to speak to the press.

    Arthur Schwartz, a member of the Friends of Hudson River Park’s board of directors, said he hasn’t seen the proposals yet, but expects Durst/C&K’s to be more closely aligned with the community’s needs than Related’s.

    Along with Schwartz, other members of the Friends’ board — which fundraises for the park — are Friends co-chairman Douglas Durst, C.E.O. of the Durst Organization, and Ben Korman, a principal of C&K Properties.

    Schwartz added that Durst “has been a major contributor to the Hudson River Park and done a lot to eliminate unwanted uses.”

    Schwartz is personally hoping for more community amenities — including schools and low-cost art, dance and theater spaces — and less traffic generated under the new proposals for Pier 57. Earlier this year, there had been some discussion of including operations for The New School in the Durst/C&K proposal, but Schwartz said he wasn’t sure that was still on the table.

    The New York Observer reported recently that the Durst/C&K proposal includes moving the Children’s Museum of Manhattan from W. 83rd St. to Pier 57, which a spokesperson for the developer confirmed but refused to elaborate on.

    Michael Kramer, a Chelsea resident and former vice chairperson of Community Board 4, was a principal of the Original Ventures team that bid on Pier 57 back in 2003, but was cut after being deemed financially risky by the Trust. He said he and his associates were left disillusioned.

    “We were skeptical we would get fair consideration for our ideas,” he said. Original Ventures, a nonprofit consortium, including the Hudson Guild settlement house, the National Maritime Historical Society and Riverkeeper, had proposed creating a Hudson River Performing Arts Center at the pier. Kramer said the consortium decided not to bid again, because “we realized we were up against the large development groups and didn’t think the Trust would find our proposal financially worthy.”

    Kramer also questioned whether the Durst/C&K proposal could be considered a conflict of interest because of the company directors’ presence on the Friends of the Hudson River Park board.

    Ed Kirkland, head of the new Pier 57 Working Group, composed of local elected officials and park advocates, said he hadn’t seen the proposals yet but expected to soon.

    “We’re looking for a happier process than Pier 40,” he said.

    Robert Trentlyon, a longtime Chelsea waterfront advocate and C.B. 4 member, wasn’t sure what Related would be proposing, but said, “I gather that Cirque de Soliel will not be presented.” He was referring to Related’s failed Pier 40 plan, noting Pier 57 wouldn’t provide enough space for that full plan.

    Pier 57, located between 15th and 16th Sts., contains roughly 300,000 square feet of built space.

    “I was surprised there weren’t more than three proposals that were financially eligible,” Trentlyon added. “We’ll see what we can do with these three.”

    He noted that both the Working Group and the Trust are dedicated “to getting something done on Pier 57,” and that community members were disappointed when the Witkoff Group withdrew its proposal at the end of last year. Witkoff’s plan originally included Cipriani restaurant group, which had pulled out as a partner before Witkoff scrapped the project entirely.

    Trentlyon already knows what he would like to see: an outdoor swimming pool.

    “Pier 57 would be a great place for a pool,” he said. “We have a lot of kids in Chelsea.”




    © 2008 Community Media, LLC

  13. #73

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    NY Times

    Hudson River Park Board Weighs Proposals for 15th Street Pier Development

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI
    Published: November 19, 2008


    Youngwoo & Associates

    Youngwoo & Associates envisions an auction house, a cultural center, a marketplace and a home for the Tribeca Film Festival.


    Three developers are vying for the right to transform a dilapidated 880-foot pier at the end of 15th Street in Chelsea into a three-level complex of museums, shops, film centers, food markets and public space intended to attract tourists and local residents.


    Durst Organization

    The Durst Organization plan calls for a live-music venue, restaurants, a marketplace, boutiques, miniature golf and docking.


    The proposals by the developers — Related Companies, Youngwoo & Associates and the Durst Organization — will be unveiled on Thursday in the second attempt in five years to create a commercial operation that would generate revenue to maintain Hudson River Park, the five miles of waterfront running from the Battery to 59th Street.

    A developer selected in 2005 to create a museum, cultural center and banquet hall withdrew this year, after costs soared and the principals became embroiled in scandal. The Hudson River Park Trust, which controls the park, has had to navigate among the competing concerns of developers with money-making proposals and residents who favor recreational and cultural activities and worry about traffic.

    Now the trust, and any developer it selects, must also contend with a sagging economy, tens of thousands of layoffs and a drop in tourism. Still, trust officials say they are excited by the latest batch of proposals.


    Related Companies

    The Related Companies proposal includes a theater, education center, marketplace, rooftop pool and cafe, and 91-slip marina.


    “We’re trying to achieve a world-class project that everybody would love and use, one that also pays us a lot of rent,” said Diana Taylor, chairwoman of the Hudson River Park Trust’s board. “We’re looking for a project that satisfies the community and the needs of the park. It’s a delicate balance, but I’m really excited.”

    Pier 57 extends the length of nearly three football fields into the Hudson. The original wooden pier was destroyed by fire in 1947 and was rebuilt, with a two-story building, five years later atop three hollow concrete chambers, or caissons. The Grace Lines operated the pier for 12 years, until most of New York’s shipping industry moved to New Jersey and the pier became a garage.

    Hudson River Park, established in 1998, has been built with state and city funds, but it must raise its own budget for operations and maintenance. The pier is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that developers could qualify for special tax credits.

    The Durst Organization, with its partner C&K Properties, is proposing a $330 million project built around a live-music venue and restaurant and a separate marketplace with small shops, restaurants, cafes, food stalls and boutiques. The organization likens its proposed public spaces to the Greenmarket at Union Square and to Rockefeller Center.

    The organization says that the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has expressed interest in moving to the pier. The plans include a small marina on the north side of the pier, and on the south side, docks for ferries, commercial vessels, fishing boats, sailboats and educational boats or barges. There would be a rooftop “pleasure garden,” featuring miniature golf and other amusements, and parking space in the caissons via ramps from above.

    “I always thought this should be the Central Park of the 21st century,” said Helena Durst, an assistant vice president at the Durst Organization who once worked as an intern at the Hudson River Park Trust. “We’re creating a truly public pier that has strong cultural and entertainment components.”

    Youngwoo & Associates, developers active in Chelsea, are proposing three “anchors” for their $191 million pier project, including a new home for the Phillips de Pury & Company auction house and a contemporary cultural center consisting of art galleries and concert space. Like all the proposals, it provides public access to the waterfront.

    The firm is also proposing a large public market akin to Pike Place near the Seattle waterfront, with restaurants, food stalls, craft importers and dress and jewelry designers. The third fixture, a large rooftop hall, would serve as a theater for the Tribeca Film Festival, which would also present events year-round. There would also be a parking garage in one of the caissons and an underwater discovery center with interactive exhibits about the Hudson River estuary.

    “This project will distinguish itself as perhaps the most high-quality cultural, historical and innovative adaptive reuse of the pier, which is both tied to a great park and one of New York’s great neighborhoods,” said James Lima, a consultant for Youngwoo.

    The $353 million proposal from the Related Companies also calls for a Pike Place-like market, as well as a large theater about which company officials say Sundance Films has expressed interest. The company, a major residential developer in New York, plans a rooftop pool and cafe, restaurants, a 91-slip marina, a public park, an education center, a 75,000-square-foot event space that includes a ballroom, and parking for 520 cars in two of the caissons.

    “It’s a diverse group of uses built around waterfront activity and open space,” said Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for Related. “The proposal includes comprehensive historic preservation of the building and a state-of-the-art ecological robotic parking system.”

    Last year, Related sought to develop Pier 40, another property owned by the Hudson River Park Trust, with a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil and a second large theater. But local residents wanted to retain the pier’s current soccer fields and recreational uses. The groups devised a proposal for summer camps, soccer fields and public schools, but were unable to come up with an economically viable plan.

    The trust is now reviewing its plans and suggesting changes to the legislation governing the Hudson River Park, which would make it easier to finance a project at Pier 40.


    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  14. #74

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    What is it with stairways to nowhere these days?


    Then again these ones would probably provide stunning views all around.
    I do like the first design more, the second looks claustrophobic.

  15. #75
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Pier 57: Chelsea's New Underwater Adventure Unveiled!

    Friday, July 31, 2009, by Joey





    Click thumbnails to enlarge

    As expected, the Hudson River Park Trust designated Youngwoo & Associates as the developer to turn Pier 57 at 15th Street into a rip-roaring New York City waterfront attraction—one that can generate some revenue for the upkeep of Hudson River Park. We're cautiously optimistic! It's not that we don't enjoy the Youngwoo bid, with its green space, canoe docks, Tribeca Film Festival venue and "Underwater Discovery Center." It's that if we've learned one thing about the commercial development of the Hudson River piers, it's this: Don't hold your breath. The "Leonardo" plan for Pier 57 fell apart in early '08, and Pier 40 is a total shitshow. But, heck, it's a joyful day so we'll stop raining on the parade. Above, a pair of new renderings of Youngwoo's shipping-container-chic plan (designed by LOT-EK), combined with some previously released early looks. And hey, what's with the Koons?

    From the Pier 57 press release, some highlights:
    YWA’s plan for Pier 57 includes a 170,000 square-foot covered, open-air public market – to be programmed and managed by Urban Space Management (USM) and housed in part in recycled and creatively refitted shipping containers. The market will be New York’s first large-scale concentration of year-round, affordable work/sell space for artisans and other small businesses. USM operates the holiday markets in Grand Central Station and Union Square, as well as several of the biggest, most popular public markets in London, including Camden Lock.

    The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) will establish a permanent outdoor venue on the roof of the pier, offering a mix of film, music and arts-based programming and promoting cultural connections between New York’s artistic community and the general public. In addition to hosting parts of the annual film festival itself, the Pier 57 “Sky Park” will be the year-round backdrop for a variety of exhibitions and performances conceived by TFF and YWA to educate, entertain and inspire independent artists and audiences alike.

    The plan also calls for a “Contemporary Culture Center” of approximately 90,000 square-feet on the ground floor, envisioned as a unique mix of auction, exhibition, gallery and entertainment space centered around the contemporary arts. Seasonal docks will be provided for kayaks, canoes and other small craft. Other features include a two-acre rooftop park, restaurants and an “Underwater Discovery Center” in one of the pier’s historic caissons. Redevelopment of the pier, a National Historic Registry structure containing approximately 375,000 square feet of buildable waterfront space, is estimated to cost a total of $210 million.
    Pier 57 coverage [Curbed]

    UPDATE: Just added to the gallery, new views and renderings of the plan, including the five total acres of new public park space from those zany Dutchmen at West 8 (of Governor's Island fame) and more shots of the interconnected container modules. Also, check out this fly-through video if you'd like a soundtrack.

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/07/3...e_unveiled.php

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