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  1. #1

    Default Pier A

    Article from Downtown Express
    http://www.downtownexpress.com/DE_05/b.p.c.amoves.html

    B.P.C.A. moves closer to buying Pier A

    By Jane Flanagan

    The takeover of Pier A by the Battery Park City Authority moved one step closer to reality this week after Community Board 1 gave the idea unanimous support.

    The partially-renovated Pier A has been mired for years in a legal battle between the developer of a $30 million renovation and the city over funding. While the decade-long battle waged on, the landmark 1880s building, located in a prime spot in Battery Park, sat empty.

    A sale to the authority, a state-controlled agency, will help the city close its budget deficit.

    It’s not clear what obstacles the lawsuit between the city and the developer, Wings Point Associates, poses to the authority’s wish to takeover the property, but Carey does not seem worried. He said that if the authority buys Pier A, renovation would begin quickly.

    “We’ll get it done,” he said.

    The authority came before the full board Tuesday seeking a green light for its plan to go before the New York State legislature for a $150 million increase in its budget cap so it can issue a bond to finance the deal. In addition to Pier A, the authority also hopes to buy the strip of land that is part of the Hudson River Park and runs contiguously along its eastern border, from just north of Chambers Street to Battery Park.

    The authority’s Michael Ketring said the Hudson Park land was included in the deal to insure the B.P.C.A. received equal value. He said by law, the Hudson River Park Trust would maintain ultimate jurisdiction over the land, but the authority would continue to oversee the area adjacent to West St., including the west end of the ballfields and the P.S./I.S. 89 yard.

    The original renovation of Pier A by Wings Point, a Long Island Developer, called for a restaurant, catering hall and retail shops. Recently, however, the National Parks Service has expressed interest in using the first floor as a waiting area and security screening for Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry passengers.

    Carey appears to be supportive of the Parks Service plan.

    “It makes a lot of sense,” he said, but added that it was too soon for him to be making any commitments.

    Other potential features of the renovated building would be a second floor visitor’s center for New York State Parks, he said. Another proposed nearby feature is a replica of an historic canal boat that would be anchored in the narrow strip of water between Wagner Park and Pier A. It would serve as a stationary museum and run by the Ernie Canal Heritage Commission. Visitors would learn about the historic role these boats played in transporting goods between New York City and upstate.

    All this still leaves room leftover for retail or professional offices, and Carey said either are possible.

    At the moment, the building is only 30 percent renovated, and he expects an additional $16 million will be required to fix the structure alone. That does not include the fixtures and other needs of specific tenants.

    Carey said the authority hopes to come before the state legislature as soon as possible and to float the bonds in the fall. A design would be drawn up soon after and bids sent out. As for how long it would be before the first visitor set foot in a fully renovated Pier A, Carey said he couldn’t say. Referring to the fact that the pier has been vacant at least three decades, for one reason or another, he said, “It’ll take a lot less than 30 years. I can tell you that.”


    Downtown Express photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio

  2. #2
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    Default Pier A

    Use by the National Park Service for ferry waiting room makes a lot of sense. *It really is a no-brainer.

  3. #3

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    Pier A Progress Perennially delayed project back on track



    By Ronda Kaysen

    Pier A in Battery Park may finally get a long awaited multi-million dollar restoration now that the city and the pier’s leaseholders are close to hammering out an agreement, bringing nearly two decades of wrangling to a close.

    The three-story pier was once a Victorian wonder in Battery Park that welcomed the likes of Amelia Earhart, the Queen of England and various heads of state. Today it is a dilapidated shell of a berth, hidden behind a chain link fence and shrouded in a thick layer of scaffolding. Soon, all that may change.

    “How do I feel about this? I’ve been working on this for 16 years! I’m thrilled,” said Thomas Ickovic, one of the managing partners of Wings Point Associates, the leaseholder for the property.

    In recent months, Wings Point settled lawsuits with the city and New York Waterway, which recently sold its Downtown commuter ferry routes to attorney William Wachtel, a Wings Point managing partner. With the legal issues resolved, Wings Point and the Economic Development Corporation, the landlord for the property, have reached an agreement in principle, according to a source at Wings Point who requested anonymity.

    The National Park Service will, if the agreement is signed, have a permanent home for its Statue of Liberty security checkpoint, bringing an end to the temporary—and unsightly—gray tents that have marred the Battery Park promenade since Liberty Island reopened with tighter security in December 2001.

    “We’re just so excited to have anything happening there; it means we have our promenade open to the public again,” said Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy. “We want [the promenade] back — that great experience of coming to Castle Clinton and having that doorway framing the harbor for you is your first major impression of looking out at those 11,000 acres of water. That plaza has got to be open space for the people Downtown.”

    Opened to the public for the first time in its history, a portion of Pier A’s sweeping ground floor will be used for Park Service security, and Wings Point has strongly suggested that Statue of Liberty-bound visitors enter through a north pier entrance, with the north and west docks used for Circle Line ferries.

    Today, the ground floor is little more than a construction site with hanging wires and plank and plywood floors. But its arched windows and open floor plan tell a different story. Built in 1886 for the now defunct Department of Docks and Ferries, the ground floor has an impressive bank of floor to ceiling arched windows, filling the dusty structure with light and breathtaking views of the New York Harbor. “They needed to read blue prints,” Ickovic said of the city workers. “They needed a building with extraordinary light.” The pier was also used as an observation tower for the city’s harbor police and most recently the marine division of the city’s fire department.

    Federal legislation signed by President George W. Bush last December gave the Park Service the authority to secure a permanent location for its security facilities.

    Wings Point, which signed a lease for the property in 1989, plans to donate the space to the Park Service, according to James Pepper, superintendent of national parks in Manhattan. Without a signed and sealed agreement, however, Pepper, is wary of premature celebrations.

    “We think it’s an exciting opportunity, and we’re looking at it very closely,” Pepper said. “But we haven’t actually signed any agreements at this stage.”

    The Economic Development Corporation, which controls the property, shares the Park Service’s sentiment. “We have been working closely with Wings Point and the National Park Service and are very happy to have the project moving again,” Janel Patterson, an E.D.C. spokesperson said. However, “There are still some issues to be resolved but we hope they’ll be worked out in the near future.”

    Wings Point plans to transform the top floor of the 32,000 sq. ft. structure into a “tavern-on-the-water” type events-catering hall and use the south pier for its own harbor tours, water taxi service to South Street Seaport and morning and evening New York Waterway commuter ferries, Ickovic said. The second floor and portions of the ground floor will be used for a harbor museum experience and other facilities.

    The agreement should be finalized by the middle of March with work beginning immediately thereafter, said a source at Wings Point, who requested anonymity because the final deal has not yet been signed. The pier is expected to be open to the public this year. “Certainly by the early fall, if not sooner, the pier will be a vibrant hall for millions of Americans to see the Statue of Liberty,” the source said. “The key is for all parties to get their arms around [the agreement.]”

    Wings Point filed permits with the city’s Dept. of Buildings recently so it can begin work.

    “This building has so much history, I am so stoked to be a part of this project,” said Seth Goldstein, project coordinator for the renovation. “I can’t wait to get started on this.”

    The massive loading barge that the Port Authority placed at the edge of the dock after September 11, 2001 for displaced PATH commuters will not return. Ickovic said the restored pier will not include a barge anywhere near that size and will have what he called a small floater with room for a few boats.

    Pier A was built immediately after work was finished on the Brooklyn Bridge and with the same equipment. Restoring it requires replacing the original detailed metal façade and fixtures that are no longer produced in this country. The machinery that casted the pressed metal detailing no longer exists.

    “For us to replicate it is much more work than it was to originally build it,” Ickovic said.

    The original clock keeps perfect ship time in a tower at the western end of the pier, but was badly damaged with time and needed its gears completely recast. “That was a very expensive restoration job,” Ickovic said.

    A historic renovation has its perks, however. Wings Point qualifies for the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, which means the company will receive a 20 percent tax credit for the $40 million project, Ickovic said. In 1997, the company also received an $8 million loan from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which will also be applied towards the restoration costs.

    Ickovic is thrilled to see the pier, which juts 300 feet out into the water and is the closest site on Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty, restored. “It’s really one of the most significant maritime buildings in New York City. Period.”

    Ronda@DowntownExpress.com

  4. #4

    Default

    Still another idea for Pier A

    Scanned from Tribeca Trib



    Artificial iceberg?

  5. #5
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    When I was in Cincinnati a few years ago, there was an exhibition in Union Terminal about the Titanic. My dad, sister and I went on the recommendation of our cousins. It was extremely well-done: there were life-size mockups of a first-class stateroom and a third-class berth, a scale model of the grand staircase, and an "artificial iceberg." Well, it was really a thick vertical slab of ice attached to the wall and cut into an angular shape, but it was touchable -- not just cold, but really, really hard, like a diamond. So you got a sense of how a giant chunk of glacier could inflict so much damage to a supposedly unsinkable ship.

    Every visitor got a card with a passenger or crewmember's name, with their class or occupation, at the beginning of the exhibition, and at the end there was a list of all the people on board, with the survivors' names italicized. All three of us died, apparently. It didn't particularly help that I was a stoker :-\

    So yeah. If the temporary exhibition in Cincy is anything to go by, a permanent Titanic museum in New York would be nothing short of excellent.

  6. #6

    Default Pier A

    Is Pier A open to visitors? How do I get there? Thanks

  7. #7
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Nope -- Pier A has been closed for renovation for 5+ years -- unfortunately it's been mired in contractor BS (lawsuits, potential graft + corrupt contracts).

    The word is that MAYBE renovation will start moving forward again sometime in this century, but I'm not counting on it.

    To find it: get yourself to Battery Park and walk to the far north west corner -- its the great old building wrapped in scaffolding advertising and fenced off from access.

    You can get a good view of it from the outlook above the restaurants in Wagner Park, just a short walk to the NW.

  8. #8

    Default Pier A

    Thanks for the info. Sorry to hear about the BS (Builders' Suits)(LOL)

  9. #9
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Some more info:

    http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/sh...5&postcount=53

    and

    http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_95/pieraprogress.html

    Pier A Progress Perennially delayed project back on track


    Downtown Express photos by Jennifer Weisbord

    Pier A’s original design included a large number of vaulted windows to provide light
    for city workers in a time before electricity.

    Downtown Express
    Ronda Kaysen
    March 2005

    Pier A in Battery Park may finally get a long awaited multi-million dollar restoration now that the city and the pier’s leaseholders are close to hammering out an agreement, bringing nearly two decades of wrangling to a close.

    The three-story pier was once a Victorian wonder in Battery Park that welcomed the likes of Amelia Earhart, the Queen of England and various heads of state. Today it is a dilapidated shell of a berth, hidden behind a chain link fence and shrouded in a thick layer of scaffolding. Soon, all that may change.

    “How do I feel about this? I’ve been working on this for 16 years! I’m thrilled,” said Thomas Ickovic, one of the managing partners of Wings Point Associates, the leaseholder for the property.

    In recent months, Wings Point settled lawsuits with the city and New York Waterway, which recently sold its Downtown commuter ferry routes to attorney William Wachtel, a Wings Point managing partner. With the legal issues resolved, Wings Point and the Economic Development Corporation, the landlord for the property, have reached an agreement in principle, according to a source at Wings Point who requested anonymity.

    The National Park Service will, if the agreement is signed, have a permanent home for its Statue of Liberty security checkpoint, bringing an end to the temporary—and unsightly—gray tents that have marred the Battery Park promenade since Liberty Island reopened with tighter security in December 2001.

    “We’re just so excited to have anything happening there; it means we have our promenade open to the public again,” said Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy. “We want [the promenade] back — that great experience of coming to Castle Clinton and having that doorway framing the harbor for you is your first major impression of looking out at those 11,000 acres of water. That plaza has got to be open space for the people Downtown.”

    Opened to the public for the first time in its history, a portion of Pier A’s sweeping ground floor will be used for Park Service security, and Wings Point has strongly suggested that Statue of Liberty-bound visitors enter through a north pier entrance, with the north and west docks used for Circle Line ferries.

    Today, the ground floor is little more than a construction site with hanging wires and plank and plywood floors. But its arched windows and open floor plan tell a different story. Built in 1886 for the now defunct Department of Docks and Ferries, the ground floor has an impressive bank of floor to ceiling arched windows, filling the dusty structure with light and breathtaking views of the New York Harbor. “They needed to read blue prints,” Ickovic said of the city workers. “They needed a building with extraordinary light.” The pier was also used as an observation tower for the city’s harbor police and most recently the marine division of the city’s fire department.

    Federal legislation signed by President George W. Bush last December gave the Park Service the authority to secure a permanent location for its security facilities.

    Wings Point, which signed a lease for the property in 1989, plans to donate the space to the Park Service, according to James Pepper, superintendent of national parks in Manhattan. Without a signed and sealed agreement, however, Pepper, is wary of premature celebrations.

    “We think it’s an exciting opportunity, and we’re looking at it very closely,” Pepper said. “But we haven’t actually signed any agreements at this stage.”

    The Economic Development Corporation, which controls the property, shares the Park Service’s sentiment. “We have been working closely with Wings Point and the National Park Service and are very happy to have the project moving again,” Janel Patterson, an E.D.C. spokesperson said. However, “There are still some issues to be resolved but we hope they’ll be worked out in the near future.”

    Wings Point plans to transform the top floor of the 32,000 sq. ft. structure into a “tavern-on-the-water” type events-catering hall and use the south pier for its own harbor tours, water taxi service to South Street Seaport and morning and evening New York Waterway commuter ferries, Ickovic said. The second floor and portions of the ground floor will be used for a harbor museum experience and other facilities.

    The agreement should be finalized by the middle of March with work beginning immediately thereafter, said a source at Wings Point, who requested anonymity because the final deal has not yet been signed. The pier is expected to be open to the public this year. “Certainly by the early fall, if not sooner, the pier will be a vibrant hall for millions of Americans to see the Statue of Liberty,” the source said. “The key is for all parties to get their arms around [the agreement.]”

    Wings Point filed permits with the city’s Dept. of Buildings recently so it can begin work.
    “This building has so much history, I am so stoked to be a part of this project,” said Seth Goldstein, project coordinator for the renovation. “I can’t wait to get started on this.”
    The massive loading barge that the Port Authority placed at the edge of the dock after September 11, 2001 for displaced PATH commuters will not return. Ickovic said the restored pier will not include a barge anywhere near that size and will have what he called a small floater with room for a few boats.

    Pier A was built immediately after work was finished on the Brooklyn Bridge and with the same equipment. Restoring it requires replacing the original detailed metal façade and fixtures that are no longer produced in this country. The machinery that casted the pressed metal detailing no longer exists.

    “For us to replicate it is much more work than it was to originally build it,” Ickovic said.
    The original clock keeps perfect ship time in a tower at the western end of the pier, but was badly damaged with time and needed its gears completely recast. “That was a very expensive restoration job,” Ickovic said.

    A historic renovation has its perks, however. Wings Point qualifies for the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, which means the company will receive a 20 percent tax credit for the $40 million project, Ickovic said. In 1997, the company also received an $8 million loan from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which will also be applied towards the restoration costs.

    Ickovic is thrilled to see the pier, which juts 300 feet out into the water and is the closest site on Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty, restored. “It’s really one of the most significant maritime buildings in New York City. Period.”


    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.


  10. #10

    Default mystery pier

    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian
    Is Pier A open to visitors? How do I get there? Thanks
    You picked a good subject Canadian: I have been gawking in amazement at the "work in progress" for what seems to be about 5-8 years now.
    Directions: go to south street (see images) and walk towards the waterfront - however, you can only view it from a distance: Work in Progress.
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  11. #11

    Default New York Times

    same old story ...

    April 6, 2006
    Plans for Pier Bogged Down in a Dispute With the City
    By PATRICK McGEEHAN


    For nearly two decades, city officials have hoped to see Pier A, a historic landmark at the northern edge of Battery Park, revived as a tourist attraction on the downtown waterfront. But the latest attempt to make commercial use of the 120-year-old pier is bogging down in a dispute between the city and an ambitious ferry operator.

    The operator, New York Waterway Tours, planned to start offering hourly harbor cruises from the pier next week. But the city's Economic Development Corporation has refused to grant permission to reopen the pier, which is leased to a company controlled by one of the owners of the tour-boat operator.

    The man behind the plan for the harbor cruises is William B. Wachtel, a Manhattan lawyer with designs on reviving the city-owned Pier A as a transportation center. He hopes it will serve as a hub for commuters traveling to and from New Jersey as well as tourists to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

    His efforts are being closely watched by competitors in the city's small but contentious ferry industry.

    "Circle Line continues to support efforts to upgrade Pier A, and though we have seen activity of a sightseeing business, we are not aware that it has received approval from appropriate agencies," said J. B. Meyer, the president of Circle Line Harbor Cruises, another tour operator.

    Mr. Wachtel controls Wings Point Associates, which is leasing the pier, and the BillyBey Ferry Company, which he created a year ago to bail out the struggling operator of the Waterway ferries. BillyBey owns half of the Waterway fleet and half of an excursion business, New York Waterway Tours.

    Last week, workers for the tour company started gearing up to start hourly cruises of the harbor from the pier. A schedule for the cruises, beginning April 14, appeared on Waterway's Web site and a trailer that would serve as a ticket office appeared at the edge of Battery Park. Other boat operators reported seeing boats making test runs from the pier. A spokesman for the United States Coast Guard, Petty Officer Mike Lutz, said yesterday that the Coast Guard had granted a permit to Waterway for excursion cruises to operate from Pier A beginning around April 14.

    But there is a hitch: Wings Point and the city have been tied up in litigation over the progress of the renovation of Pier A for years and officials of the development corporation are not willing to cooperate until the lawsuits are settled. Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the development corporation, said this week that "we are in workout negotiations with the leaseholder" and added that "we also advised them that it's premature for them to advertise or promote ferry service from Pier A." But two days later, Waterway was still advertising that cruises would begin on April 14.

    Pat Smith, a spokesman for New York Waterway Tours and its owners, declined to say whether the company would run the tours without the city's consent. "A final decision has not been made" about operating sightseeing boats or commuter ferries from the pier, he said.

    The dispute with the city has also threatened Mr. Wachtel's plan to run commuters to and from the pier. Waterway filed an application with the Army Corps of Engineers last year seeking permission to anchor barges alongside the pier so that ferries could dock perpendicular to it.

    That proposal drew objections from other boat operators, including officials of New York Water Taxi and the Circle Line company that ferries tourists between Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty. Water Taxi, controlled by Douglas Durst, the Manhattan property developer, is Waterway's closest competitor in the harbor.

    But Circle Line has the most to lose if Mr. Wachtel succeeds. Wings Point has been negotiating with the National Park Service to move the ticketing and screening operations for Statue of Liberty ferry passengers to Pier A from Battery Park. Circle Line's longstanding contract to operate ferries to the statue and Ellis Island is scheduled to expire in less than a year and Mr. Wachtel has said he may bid for it.

  12. #12
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Dag-nabbit ...

    I was hoping for some GOOD news here!

    Maybe this will force everybody involved to make a settlement

  13. #13

    Default Pier

    Quote Originally Posted by BPC
    [i]same old story ...For nearly two decades, city officials have hoped to see Pier A, a historic landmark at the northern edge of Battery Park, revived as a tourist attraction on the downtown waterfront.
    Thank you for bringing this attention BPC....if ever there was on un-official ombudsmen to report on the maladministration of this city.......it would be Wny forum.

    I will go diggen for some news and links....thanks again BPC.

    P.S. Given your location, bet you would like to see "something" happen here.

    cheeers

  14. #14

    Default

    Yes. I have lived in the 'hood for 12 years, and I am tired of seeing this beautiful structure all boarded up, with nobody working on it. Any public use would be fine by me.

  15. #15

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    Moving NPS operations for Statue of Liberty ticketing and security screening to Pier A makes the most sense. Or does the city plan to make the huge tent on the promenade a permanent feature?

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