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Repairs to Rotting Pier A Will Finish by the End of 2012

Workers are repairing Pier A's clock tower.
Workers are repairing Pier A's clock tower.
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Battery Park City Authority

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The new Pier A is finally taking shape.

After months of delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns, workers are making progress on repairing the landmarked 126-year-old pier at Lower Manhattan's tip and will finish by the end of the year, Gayle Horwitz, president of the Battery Park City Authority, said Monday.

The authority will then turn the pier over to a team of developers, including the Poulakakos family, to open an $18 million oyster bar and catering hall there. The new three-story bar and restaurant, along with a tourist information center and a new public plaza, is scheduled to open in the summer or early fall of 2013, Horwitz said.

The authority initially expected to finish repairing the deteriorating Pier A by last summer, but the job is taking an extra 18 months because workers kept discovering rotting wood, Horwitz said at a City Council hearing on Downtown's waterfront Monday afternoon.

"Whole sections of the building were just missing," Horwitz said.

As a result, the cost of the repairs rose from $30 million to $36 million, the authority said.

Pier A, the last remaining historic pier building in Manhattan, opened in 1886 as headquarters for the New York Harbor Police and the Department of Docks. In 1919, a clock tower at the pier's tip was dedicated as the country's first World War I memorial.

Some of the pier's original structure was destroyed when the FDNY used it as a workshop starting in the 1960s, and more recently the pier was left open to the elements for more than a decade during failed development attempts.

Horwitz said that rather than being dismayed by how much work Pier A needed, she is impressed that it is still standing at all.

"I like to describe the pier as the little engine that could," she said.