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Community Board Set to Support Pier 57 Overhaul

By Mathew Katz | December 5, 2012 12:12pm

CHELSEA — A plan for a massive overhaul of Pier 57 is set to get support from Community Board 4.

The proposal would transform the pier, a former MTA bus depot at the end of West 16th and 17th streets in Hudson River Park, into a cultural and retail hub for the neighborhood.

The plan would create roughly 260,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space built into re-purposed shipping containers, similar to Dekalb Market in Brooklyn.

It would also create a 141-slip marina, a water taxi landing, art gallery, cultural space and technical arts school on the huge pier, along with 1.6 acres of rooftop open space complete with regular film screenings curated by the TriBeCa Film Festival.

The changes would need rezoning that would require City Council approval.

If approved, the pier has the potential to become a massive moneymaker for the financially ailing Hudson River Park. It would become one of several proposed revenue streams, including a tax that could be imposed on the park's neighboring properties.

"The redevelopment of Pier 57 is a crucial element in the ongoing revitalization of Hudson River Park," board members wrote in a draft letter. The board will vote Wednesday on whether that letter should be sent to the City Planning Commission.

"We believe that the proposed project is an appropriate use of the waterfront and would be an excellent addition to the park," the letter reads.

The letter does ask for several restrictions on the project, however, including prohibiting big-box stores from opening on the pier. It also asks that the park address safety concerns about crossing 10th Avenue to enter, and that no hotels open on the pier. 

Built in 1952, Pier 57 was constructed on three huge concrete caissons that were made further up the Hudson and floated to Chelsea. The current plan for the new pier was designed by developer Youngwoo & Associates after an intensive search four years ago.