Something needs to be done to save Pier 40, which is incrementally sinking into the Hudson River. (Recent reports indicate that there are about two years left until it's too late.) But that something will not include the secret $100 million
deal memorandum of understanding (MOU) to sell off the Hudson River Park's air rights to the St. John's Terminal building. The Villager reports that amid fervent public outcry, political opposition, and threats of lawsuits, that deal MOU has been scrapped. [EDIT: The Villager's article stated simply that the MOU is dead, not necessarily the entire air rights deal.]
The Hudson River Park Trust still has not produced the MOU, which was reportedly signed by the president of the Trust, a representative of the Empire State Development Corporation, and a representative of the owners of St. John's Center, but the part that had everybody all upset was the fact that it would involve a state-run General Project Plan (no public review) and not a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (tons of public review). As soon as the deal was made public, a number of elected officials including Congressman Jerry Nadler, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Councilmember Corey Johnson came out against it, and talk of lawsuits soon followed. The Hudson River Park Trust, for their part, seemed (and, in fact, still seems) somewhat taken aback by the opposition, as evidenced by the fact that they have abandoned the MOU with basically no fight. Selling the air rights is, presumably, still on the table, but the Trust's next attempts will likely be much more out in the open.
UPDATE: A statement from Hudson River Park Trust president Madelyn Wills: "We look forward to working with the city on a ULURP that will save the pier, achieve the legislature's vision, and fully engage our community's stakeholders."
· Pier 40 secret air-rights agreement is sunk: Attorney [The Villager]
· Pier 40 coverage [Curbed]