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Oyster Bar and Restaurant Planned For Downtown Pier

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — An oyster bar, an upscale restaurant, an event space and more are on the way to Pier A.

The historic pier at lower Manhattan's tip, which sat crumbling and abandoned for decades, finally has a new tenant: Harry Poulakakos, who plans to use the space to expand his downtown restaurant empire.

The Battery Park City Authority voted Tuesday morning to lease Pier A to a group comprised of Poulakakos, real estate developer The Dermot Company and Rogers Marvel Architects. The team will pay about $40 million in rent over 25 years, plus 8 percent of all annual profits over $18 million, the Authority said.

"The restoration of Pier A will create hundreds of new jobs and provide residents and visitors with even more dining and recreational options in the area," BPCA Chairman Bill Thompson said in a statement.

The pier could reopen as soon as the summer of 2012, the Authority said.

The ground floor of the 125-year-old pier will house an oyster bar with outdoor seating, a casual restaurant, a coffee shop and a visitor center, according to the BPCA. The second floor will have the fine-dining restaurant and an event space, which will continue up to the third floor.

"That's really exciting," said Bill Love, a member of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee, when told of the plans. "I'm always in favor of good restaurants in Battery Park City."

The esplanade that wraps around Pier A will also reopen to the public after years of being fenced off. Renderings show historic ships docking on the pier, which once served as headquarters for the city's fireboats.

The Poulakakos family also owns Harry's Italian, Financier Patisserie, Ulysses' and more. The family is planning several other new venues downtown, including a dog-themed bar and restaurant on Stone Street and Harry's Italian Pizza Bar in northern Battery Park City.

The Battery Park City Authority is developing Pier A under a long-term lease with the city. The city required that the Authority find a sub-tenant that would generate a profit, although some local residents had hoped a nonprofit organization like a museum or cultural center would move in.

Meanwhile, restoration work on the crumbling pier continues. Construction costs have swelled by over $3 million in the past eight months, but the project is still within its original $30 million budget, Authority staff said.

Pier A was built in 1886 and served the New York Harbor Police and the Department of Docks, then later the FDNY. The distinctive clock tower at the far end of the pier was the nation's first World War I memorial when it opened in 1919.

Before the Battery Park City Authority took over the project in 2008, the pier had been vacant for over 20 years.