Volume 21, Number 29 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Nov. 28 - Dec. 4, 2008
LEFT: The Related Companies’ design includes parking in the pier’s underwater portion. RIGHT: A rendering of the Durst Organization/C&K Properties proposal
Food markets, gardens and parking: Ideas proposed for Pier 57
By Heather Murray
The Hudson River Park Trust unveiled grandiose plans from a trio of developers last week vying to turn the dilapidated Pier 57 into a destination hotspot for culture, entertainment, dining and relaxation on the waterfront.
The three development teams—The Related Companies, a joint venture between C&K Properties and the Durst Organization, and the lesser-known Young Woo and Associates — all provided unique visions of the Chelsea pier that met with favor from the Trust for their commitment to the aquatic environment.
The Related Companies, who earned the ire of the community over its rejected proposal for Pier 40 farther to the south has proposed a $353 million plan for Pier 57. It includes a pool deck and café, restaurant, park, film theatre, food hall marketplace, event space and multipurpose room. A marina and robotic parking also make up the mega-developer’s vision for the 300,000-square-foot space.
Related described its vision as a “diverse and accessible collection of uses that local residents, parkgoers and New Yorkers would enjoy on a daily basis,” according to its proposal submitted to the Trust. Shoppers could pick up produce, fish, meat, cheese, breads, and stop in at cafes and raw bars at the pier’s food marketplace. Movie theaters will afford the local independent film industry a venue for emerging talent, festivals and outdoor screenings, with Sundance Films expressing interest in Related’s proposal.
A multipurpose room planned for the tip of the pier will be created with input from the Trust and the community, and could serve as a community center or perhaps house studios and gallery space. A one-acre roof park will offer bleacher seats to gaze comfortably at the High Line and Meatpacking District, and the shared roof deck will feature space for concerts and public events.
The floating concrete caissons that form the foundation of the pier will be open to the public to allow visitors to experience the engineering feat that makes the building unique.
A 75,000 square foot event space that includes a ballroom is designed to “host a range of events including a wide variety of business and social functions serving practically every industry sector that is important to New York City’s economy,” the proposal stated. It indicates that the rooftop deck could be used at times in conjunction with event space programming.
The public would also be able to view the robotic vehicle storage system Related plans to create, which will provide approximately 520 parking spaces — addressing one of the key desires of the community for the pier. Historic boats docked at the marina would recall the industrial waterfront of New York’s past, and the 91-slip marina would improve access to the harbor for boaters, kayakers and sailors.
Related spokesperson Joanna Rose said her company realizes that the “revitalization of our waterfront is important to the city” and that it’s exciting to be involved in creating a new amenity for a community Related is deeply involved with.
C&K Properties/the Durst Organization is proposing five anchor tenants for Pier 57: the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, a live music venue and restaurant, the Harbor at Pier 57, the Event Space at Pier 57, and a rooftop “pleasure garden.” The developer’s $330 million proposal includes temporary art exhibits, public markets, sidewalk cafés, space for street musicians and for public programming interspersed throughout the pier.
The live music venue and restaurant would provide a destination similar to the House of Blues, the proposal stated.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, currently located on the Upper West Side, would control roughly one-quarter of the pier and attract an estimated 500,000 visitors a year.
According to Ben Korman, principal of C&K Properties, “We see Pier 57 as a center of activity within Hudson River Park that celebrates the pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly fabric of the existing neighborhood. Our plan extends the unique and vibrant mixture of public space, cultural amenities, restaurants and retail in the West Village and Chelsea out onto the pier, and we look forward to collaborating with the community to create an exciting destination with a true sense of place.”
The proposal also provides berthing for historic vessels, educational floats, sightseeing ships, ferries and private watercraft, and a small craft marina that could eventually connect with Chelsea Piers.
The development team designed the public programming around 10 public spaces on the pier — a concept the organization Project for Public Spaces calls the “Power of 10” — which include locations such as the Hudson River “Lookout Point,” the Winter Garden, the Rooftop Amphitheater and the Rooftop Pleasure Garden. The garden, dubbed Hudson Gardens at Pier 57, features food, entertainment, retail and restaurants.
The developer is also proposing a 30,000-square-foot, 1,000-person-plus event space with ballrooms, conference rooms and meeting rooms.
One of C&K/Durst’s goals is to encourage the building of a pedestrian bridge connecting the High Line Park to Pier 57 and the Hudson River Park—another of the community’s requests for the pier. C&K Properties noted that it has previously managed and operated facilities in the park including the operating lease for Pier 40.
Young Woo and Associates, the West Village-based developer best known in the community for the W. 25th Street Chelsea Arts Tower building, highlighted in its $191 million proposal a focus on “celebrating culture, history and innovation.”
Spokesperson Greg Carney noted his company’s vision “is a great fit for our firm and the team we’ve put together. We feel the anchor tenants speak for themselves.”
The developer sees Pier 57 to be “the urban gathering place” for not only West Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, but the entire Hudson River Park.
Two companies founded in London would be the major tenants at Young Woo’s Pier 57, which would have Phillips de Pury & Company move its global headquarters from just across the highway on W. 15th St. The auction house/art dealership would establish a contemporary cultural center on the pier featuring open galleries, fine art auctions and concerts.
A public market in the vein of Pike’s Place in Seattle or Camden Lock in London will sprawl across the second floor. Urban Space Management, a company that created Camden Lock in 1973 and specializes in economic renewal of rundown or underutilized spaces, will lease the space and provide subleases to over 80 small businesses, restaurants and food vendors. Young Woo said in its proposal that the company is committed to bringing in as many local and arts-related second-floor tenants as possible. A roof park would be designed in conjunction with the Trust and community, and could include a wide variety of uses such as a wildflower garden, dog run, tree grove, vegetable garden and lawn.
The Tribeca Film Festival has expressed an interest in Young Woo’s proposal and would hold a number of its programs on the rooftop. The pier’s westernmost caisson would provide an “Underwater Discovery” experience for visitors seeking to reconnect with the Hudson River, allowing them to descend below the water to view sea life. The middle caisson would hold Phillips’s back-of-house needs, and the third a long-term parking garage for the neighborhood. Historic boats would also line the pier, and the south side would have a small marina for sailboats and a kayak launch.
“We’re really pleased by the richness of the proposals,” said Noreen Doyle, executive vice president of the Hudson River Park Trust. “They all have exciting things that people are going to be talking about in terms of how they fit into the park.” The Trust put out a second request for proposals for the pier over the summer after the Witkoff/Cipriani Group withdrew its plans to build there at the end of last year.
Doyle called the proposals “inventive and thoughtful” and said she was glad to see that water uses were touched upon by all three developers “after years of trying to get developers to understand that the water is a place, too.”
Doyle is confident that this time around, the Trust, the Pier 57 Working Group and community will “get out the door faster with some of our questions,” rather than the “back and forth and back and forth” that plagued the previous quest to choose a developer.
Doyle noted the developers will present their plans to the pier’s working group, which is made up of local officials and community members, next month.
A public presentation of the proposals is tentatively scheduled for the end of January or early February, she added.
Ed Kirkland, chairperson of the working group, said he thought the proposals were “very promising on the whole, relative to the first round, where very little public space was proposed.”
He said he expected traffic to be a concern raised by the community, especially in regard to the large event spaces proposed.