Tuesday, April 16, 2013

City Council Approves Pier 57 Redevelopment Plan

As New Yorkers' minds turn toward the waterfront for the season, the City Council has granted unanimous approval to Youngwoo & Associates to begin its ambitious plans to redevelop Pier 57 at the foot of West 15th Street. The plan involves renovating the existing building that encompasses the entire pier and turning it into an urban mall. The conversion includes a two-floor public marketplace, a two-acre rooftop open space and a 115-slip marina, along with the installation of re-purposed shipping containers stacked three to four stories high, which will serve as retail space for a collection of tenants.

The proposal won unanimous approval from the City Council afternoon after having successfully negotiated the city's public review process. The redevelopment will give Hudson River Park a major shot in the arm.

Malls and buildings made out of shipping containers aren't really anything new. What is new about the latest shipping container mall coming to the city: it will be at Pier 57, where the development plan from Youngwoo & Associates is finally in motion.

The developer will set up shipping containers as stores for about 60 retailers. Each store can rent a shipping container for $3,000/mo. until the rest of P57 - as the pier's makeover is now known - opens in spring 2015, when the Incuboxes will rise in price to $5,500/month.

Youngwoo will also lease about 20,000 square feet of more traditional retail space to one or more anchor tenants on the 61-year-old dock. The plan also includes the creation of about 100,000 square feet of public space at on the property's roof. The Tribeca Film Festival will use the roof as an outdoor theater, a major part of the firm’s proposal for the site.

The Tribeca  Film Festival will establish a permanent outdoor venue on the roof of the pier, offering a mix of film, music and arts-based programming and promoting cultural connections between New York’s artistic community and the general public. In addition to hosting parts of the annual film festival itself, the P57 “Sky Park” will be the year-round backdrop for a variety of exhibitions and performances to educate entertain and inspire independent artists and audiences alike.

The redevelopment will generate much-needed revenue for the Hudson River Park at a time when it is searching for money to renovate the neighboring Pier 40, which needs up to $100 million of renovation work to refurbish its wood pilings. Plans have been floated for that pier, too, including adding office, residential or hotel space to the existing sports fields.

 Youngwoo’s proposal also calls for a 90,000 square-feet “Contemporary Culture Center” on the ground floor, envisioned as a unique mix of auction, exhibition, gallery and entertainment space centered on the contemporary arts. Seasonal docks will be provided for kayaks, canoes and other small craft. Other features include a two-acre rooftop park, restaurants and an “Underwater Discovery Center” in one of the piers historic caissons.

Youngwoo & Associates recently developed a Chelsea condominium tower with a car elevator that allows owners to bring their vehicles up to their doors and, during the recession, they snapped up AIG’s art-deco headquarters downtown.

Redevelopment of the pier, a National Historic Registry structure containing approximately 375,000 square feet of buildable waterfront space, is estimated to cost a total of $210 million.