Pier 55 To Resume Construction

In what has largely become a battle between billionaires Barry Diller and Douglas Durst, construction seems set to resume on a new park and performing arts center at Pier 55 on the Hudson River in New York.

Barry Diller
David Shankbone
– Barry Diller
in 2009

The installation, informally known as “Diller Island” hit a roadblock when a judge said in March the proposal didn’t consider the environmental impact of the project. The Army Corps accepted revisions to a recently amended application and issued a permit to allow construction to advance May 31, as did the Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York Times reported.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield reportedly objected to the use of concrete to fill in hundreds of pilings and the docking of a barge next to the pier in plans submitted by the Army Corps of Engineers, but now the amended plans seem to have addressed these concerns.

The new development would “undoubtedly result in a new challenge,” Richard Emery, a lawyer for the City Club of New York, which opposes the development, said. The next challenge will likely emphasize potential damage to the water in the area.

If finished, the development of the pier on West 13th Street would feature lawns, new pathways and three venues for performing arts, the Times wrote.

Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, agreed to be the main financier of the project told the paper he’s ambivalent going forward because he felt the project, despite potential great benefit to the public, was being stalled by a few opponents. He said much of the opposition to the development of Pier 55 was being bankrolled by real estate mogul Douglas Durst, which was at least partially confirmed by Durst in May, the paper reported.

Durst dislikes the “secretive” process through which the development on Pier 55 was approved, the Times reported.

Diller is married to fashion bigwig Diane Von Furstenberg and the two have also been involved in the development of buildings in Manhattan and the city’s Meatpacking District.