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Pier 57 Takes Next Step in Massive Redevelopment Project

By Meredith Hoffman | July 19, 2011 7:17am | Updated on July 19, 2011 7:24am

CHELSEA — After years of planning, Pier 57, a waterfront space at West 15th Street, is a step closer to becoming a cultural and economic hub.

Detailed plans for the project — which includes a two-floor public marketplace, a two-acre rooftop open space and a 115-slip marina — are now available online.  The Hudson River Park Trust, which owns the property, is seeking public feedback until July 29.

The comments will be considered in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), before construction can begin. Architects for the project include Handel Architects and Lot-Ek, among others.

The project's completion is slated for 2015 and is expected to resurrect the pier, which was built in 1952. It's currently listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and once housed the Grace Lines cruises.

The site has been vacant since 2004, according to the proposal.

The future space, which is slated to include about 375,000 square feet and will cost about $210 million to build, is expected to receive a massive influx of people and cars, sparking concerns among some community members and local officials.

The TriBeCa Film Festival's rooftop theater alone is expected to attract thousands.

"As we've seen in other places in the city, even small changes can have huge impacts in traffic," said Sarah Meier-Zimbler, legislative aide to State Senator Tom Duane, at Thursday's meeting of the Hudson River Park Trust inside the Chelsea Market event space. The trust held the meeting to share the plans and solicit feedback from the public.

Duane and State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, whose district covers Chelsea, issued a statement expressing apprehension about the possible effects on local residents, and on the safety of pedestrians beside such a large street.

Edward Kirkland, a Community Board 4 member, also expressed concerns about the traffic, and Christine Berthet of CB4's transportation committee said her main concern was bicycle movement amid the crowds.

"They [the developers] need to think about bikes as vehicles, as they would cars," said Berthet, otherwise praising the project.

Noreen Doyle, Executive Vice President of the Hudson River Park Trust, said that traffic considerations would remain a priority.

"We know that traffic issues, including those related to pedestrians and bikes, are extremely important to the community," she wrote in an email to DNAinfo.

She emphasized that anyone could write Pier57comments@hrpt.state.ny.us with comments.