Volume 73, Number 43 | February 25 - March 2, 2004

7 proposals submitted for Pier 57

By Albert Amateau

The Hudson River Park Trust last week presented the seven development teams that propose to transform Pier 57, the former city bus depot on the Chelsea waterfront, into a cultural destination in the 5-mile-long riverfront park currently under construction.

The seven schemes for the pier between 15th and 16th Sts., which is the third-largest site in the park after Pier 40 and the Gansevoort Peninsula, were broadly inclusive — featuring performance spaces, maritime museums, historic ships, restaurants, cabarets, auction houses, retail shops, television studios, floating swimming pools and more.

The Trust called for proposals last September, set a Jan. 20 deadline and hopes to select a development team by June of this year.

“Over the next several months we will also meet with a group made up of members of Community Board 4 and the Hudson River Park Advisory Council to receive input directly from the nearby neighborhoods about the future of Pier 57,” the Trust announcement said.

The Advisory Council, which advises the Trust board of directors, includes elected officials, members of Community Boards 1, 2, and 4 — whose districts include the Hudson River Park — park advocates and Trust directors.

The broad development goals stated in September for the 300,000-sq.-ft. pier were, “quality park-enhancing uses for a combination of cultural, educational and maritime recreation noncommercial and commercial uses.”

The disclosure of the seven respondents came barely a month after the Jan. 20 deadline for submissions and gratified park advocates.

“That’s a pretty good record compared to Pier 40,” said Ross Graham, co-chairperson of the board of directors of Friends of Hudson River Park, a park advocacy group. She referred to the delays and eventual collapse of the process to select a developer for Pier 40 at Houston St. The 15-acre Pier 40 is currently being proposed for interim uses — including a 400-ft.-by-400-ft. sports field, strip of rooftop open space and long-term parking — pending the resumption of the developer selection.

Graham had high praise for Connie Fishman, former vice president of the Trust who became the Trust’s president at the end of December. “All of us at Friends of Hudson River Park are pleased at what the Trust has been doing lately,” Graham said. “There’s a sense of all of us working together.”

None of the principals in the seven teams would elaborate on their proposals, citing a confidentiality agreement with the Trust.

Original Ventures, Inc., proposed a Hudson River Performing Arts Center, including restaurants, a broadcast studio, performance spaces, a maritime museum, a nonprofit arts incubator, exhibition space, catering and events space, historic vessels, a marina and a floating swimming pool. Michael Kramer, a former member of Community Board 4 and a Chelsea resident, is a partner in the team.

RW Consultants and MJ Properties propose to form Pier 57 Development Corp. to create tradeshows, an auction house, catering, ballroom and event space, restaurants and retail, a maritime museum and marina, a greenhouse and a co-generation energy facility.

LCOR Development Services and Pier 57 Preservation Trust propose to establish “Discover Pier 57,” featuring a Cousteau Society Visitor and Ocean Center for marine exhibits and education, a maritime museum, a destination cinema, historic vessels and dinner cruises, events and catering space, retail, galleries, restaurants and mini storage. John Doswell, a Community Board 4 member and dock master of Pier 63 Maritime — a public dock on a barge at W. 23rd St. — is a member of the LCOR team. LCOR is the developer of major real estate projects in New York and Washington, D.C.

Another group, Pier 57 Maritime — a team of R2 Electric and John Krevey, owner and operator of Pier 63 Maritime — proposed open space and public recreation, charter boats and accessory parking, historic vessels, artists studios, offices for nonprofit groups, food and beverage cafes and snack bars, catering and events, kayak and canoe storage, boat building and a small boat marina. Krevey, the principal in the team, currently operates Pier 63 Maritime where the decommissioned lightship Frying Pan and fireboat John R. Harvey are berthed. Doswell is not associated with Krevy in this proposal.

U.S. Four, Inc., of the Pier 57 Development Corp. proposes a restaurant and cabaret, catering and event space, a theater, artists’ studios, commercial gallery, performance arts education, television sound stages and a public outdoor gallery.

Chelsea Piers Management for Pier 57 proposes a tennis and aquatics center, art galleries and arts education, a dance center, historic ships, two marinas, one for yachts and the other for small boats, marine supplies and services, dinner cruises, restaurants and retail, a film/TV production facility, accessory parking, emergency management center and a co-generation energy facility. Chelsea Piers Management runs the sports and entertainment complex on the Chelsea Piers 59, 60, 61 and 62.

The Witkoff Group, Cipriani and Plaza Construction propose to develop “Leonardo at Pier 57,” an international center for Italian art, crafts, culture, design, commerce and retail, including a museum, gallery, photography studios, a promotion bureau, marina, marine supplies, catering and events space, a swimming pool and accessory parking.


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