Volume 22, Number 38 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 29 - February 4, 2010
Pier A renovation work approved
The Battery Park City Authority approved $11.1 million in construction contracts for Pier A Wednesday morning, paving the way for the final repairs to the historic pier.
The authority is redeveloping the three-story landmark pier using $30 million from the city and hopes to turn it over to a tenant next year. The authority is slated to finish underwater repairs to the pier this April and then plans to start the core and shell work. The contracts approved Wednesday will cover that core and shell work. So far, the contracts have come in under budget, which left the authority with extra money to design the public plaza around the pier, the authority said Wednesday.
Charles Urstadt, vice president of the B.P.C.A. board, raised the concern that the authority would lose money on Pier A, but the authority’s president, Jim Cavanaugh, said the city was bearing the risk of the project. The city has directed the authority not to spend any money beyond the initial $30 million, and the city is the one responsible for the debt service on those funds, Cavanaugh said.
The authority is currently seeking tenants to occupy Pier A, including possibly a restaurant or catering hall at the western tip of Battery Park, but the city will have to approve the rent and terms of any deal.
Robert Mueller, a board member, said he was worried that the authority would not be able to find a tenant willing to pay as much as the city would want.
“I’m not trying to throw cold water on this, no pun intended,” Mueller said. While Mueller said he’d “love to see it work,” he added, “This project has failed before — it doesn’t exactly have a terrific history.”
The city previously tried to work with a private developer on Pier A, which use to be a marine firehouse, but the project never got off the ground.
Board member Lynn Rollins mentioned that her daughter in Oregon recently told her of a vegan restaurant there that supports itself by running a porn shop in the back. The other board members laughed heartily.
“So moved!” Urstadt joked.
“What are you moving?” Chairperson James Gill asked. “The porn shop?”
Prospective tenants have until Feb. 16 to submit their proposals to the authority for consideration.
— Julie Shapiro