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Preservationists Hate Hudson River Park's Air Rights Deal

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Hudson River Park is in desperate need of money, and a bill currently awaiting Governor Cuomo's signature could provide the public space with plenty of cash. The bill would allow the park to sell the unused development rights of six piers to building owners up to one block east of the park. Neighbors already raised concerns about several conflicts of interest, and now preservationists are sounding the alarm, too. "We're concerned about overdevelopment on the waterfront blocks, which are the visual face of the neighborhood," Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, told the Times. "Knowing that this potential Pandora's box has been opened is very worrisome to us."

However, it's unclear how much the additional air rights would alter the west side skyline. The Times notes that many neighborhood, particularly Greenwich Village and the West Village, have strict height restrictions. On the West Side Highway, things are a bit different. Zoning restricts the total square footage, but not the height, so new towers could theoretically be built. Still though, all possible air rights sales and building plans would have to go through a full public review and be voted on by City Council. But even supporters of the plan say they don't want this to bring "60-story buildings on the waterfront," but all other money-making plans?most of which revolved around ways to develop Pier 40?have failed. Is this the only option?
· Preservationists Have Concerns About Plan to Sell Hudson River Park's Air Rights [NYT]
· Hudson River Park coverage [Curbed]
· Pier 40 coverage [Curbed]
Photo by jschauma/Flickr Creative Commons