Buildings will soon rise to new heights alongManhattan’s Hudson River Park. Governor Cuomo just signed legislation to allow the cash-strapped park to sell 1.6 million square feet in air rights to developers. The bill will enable developers to build new projects one block from the five-mile waterfront park, which can now include commercial tenants, schools, performing art organizations and venues, and TV film and media studios.
For the last few years, the commercial tenants at Pier 40 have failed to generate enough money for the park, leading the Hudson River Park Trust to look for new revenue sources. The crumbling 15-acre pier—made up of ball fields, offices, and sports facilities—requires around $118 million in renovations.
This plan has been controversial and incited protects from historic and environmental groups. With the city still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, the Sierra Club and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) have encouraged the governor to reject the new bill, which they said would put new developments at risk.
“Governor Cuomo has rightly called for plans to ensure that the State of New York is better prepared for and more resilient to future severe storms. It would be foolhardy to encourage development in such a storm-vulnerable location,” said Laura Haight, NYPIRG’s senior environmental associate, in a statement.