In a big win for Pier 55 Inc. and the Hudson River Park Trust, the New York State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to derail the massive project along the Hudson River.
Filed last June by the City Club of New York, the lawsuit hoped to delay or stop billionaire Barry Diller’s $130 million park, which will jut out into the Hudson River at West 13th Street, where Pier 54 currently sits in disrepair. It claimed that the park’s environmental review had not been diligent enough, and requested that the project go through an approval process by the state legislature.
“On behalf of Hudson River Park Trust, and all those involved in this project, I’m so glad we can get back to the work: that of building a great park and performance center for the people of New York and all those who come to visit,” Diller said in a statement. The 2.7-acre park will provide open green space infused with an emphasis on the performing arts.
City Club President Michael Gruen said he was disappointed by the dismissal and is considering an appeal, though the group hasn’t “reached a firm conclusion.”
“We think that there are errors pretty much throughout [the decision],” Gruen said. For example, he pointed out that the alternative action plan, which is required to compare the environmental impact of the proposed plan versus taking no action at all, was incorrect. This could be advantageous to City Club should they decide to appeal.
The New York Post reported that City Club was asking for legislative approval because “the project would allow ‘non-park purposes’ including ticketed concerts in a public space,” though many events will be free or low-cost. They also cited concerns about the effects of such a project on species such as the American eel and shortnose sturgeon.
In her decision, Judge Joan Lobis wrote that she did not believe the park would cause “significant adverse impacts on the aquatic habitat.”
Construction is slated to begin this year and the park is projected to open in 2018, though it first needs to be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers.