Cuomo Blocks Bill that would see office spaces take over open spaces at Chelsea Piers 40

Kills commercial redevelopment plans at beloved recreational site and suggests underutilized Pier 76 instead

Erik Drost [CC BY (]
(NEW YORK, NEW YORK)—On New Year’s Eve, Cuomo blocked a bill that would have permitted the development of office space up to eight stories at New York’s Chelsea Pier 40, Curbed NY reports.

“The one thing that we are not making any more of in Manhattan is open space, and this must be protected,” Cuomo wrote.

If passed, the bill would have allowed commercial office to rise at Pier 40. Currently, Pier 40 is the site of valuable baseball and soccer fields.

However, those much-loved fields are often out-of-commission due to flooding and forced closures due to the pier’s outdated draining system. Proponents of the rejected bill say that profits from leasing the office space could have provided up to $12.5 million dollars a year of funding for repairs that would have made these spaces more usable year-round.

The proposed office development incited fierce opposition between community member and developers. Locals, represented by Manhattan Community Board 2, have expressed their dislike of the plan, fearing the impact of overdevelopment. Few families hope to see treasured recreational space overtaken by bland corporate offices. The Hudson River Park Trust was also unhappy with the compromise proposed in the bill, feeling that it didn’t offer attractive enough terms to potential commercial tenants.

The fight between the two obscures the plenty of viable alternatives for Hudson River Park Trust’s commercial plans. Cuomo suggested that nearby Pier 76, which currently houses an NYPD tow pound lot. The tow pound has long overstayed its welcome, with relocation plans floundering for over two decades now. Cuomo suggested that development on that under-utilized site could provide much-needed funding for public resources like Pier 40 without jeopardizing the existing recreational space they provide.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who represents the area, welcomed Cuomo’s veto vote. “I think the veto is a great opportunity to revisit this,” Glick told Curbed. “The governor hit a reset button and I think we will have to have a conversation about what the parks finances actually look like.”

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