After both West Village residents and the City Planning Commission expressed concerns over the redevelopment Pier 40-adjacent building St. John’s Terminal into a major residential and commercial hub, the developers have decided to make some changes to their plan.
Initially, the Hudson River Park Trust, which manages Pier 40, made an agreement with developers Westbrook Partners and the Atlas Capital Group to transfer 200,000 square feet of air rights from the pier to St. John’s Terminal for $100 million. That money would be used by HRPT for much needed repairs on 3,500 piles supporting the pier. As for the developers, they wanted to build five buildings with a mix of market-rate condos and affordable housing, an office or a hotel, and a large amount of retail—ambitious enough plans to require a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) approvals process from City Planning Commission.
But in August, city council members expressed concerns about "big box" retail coming to the project, parking, traffic, and the overall scale. According to DNAinfo, the developers have sent a list of "design modifications" to the City Council, based on feedback from the commission. The developers have nixed their plan for a "big-box retail alternative," and will instead include a minimum of four retail stores along the ground floor on West Houston Street, and three more retail stores on the ground floor on Clarkson Street.
Plans to turn part of the long-defunct elevated rail over West Houston Street (rendered above) into a public park have also been nixed, due to concerns from the community board and the Manhattan Borough President about "its impact on the pedestrian experience on the sidewalks below." Instead, the developers will remove the rail beds entirely and put open space at the ground level, as well as seating and plantings along a passageway through the project's five buildings.
The developers have also promised a 10,000-square-foot indoor recreation space, either at or below the ground floor in the center of the project, that will be used for "various ball sports, martial arts or fitness classes." It’ll be available to the public for 50 percent of its operating hours—the rest of the time the space will be reserved for building residents.
And the plans may still change further. According to DNAinfo, project lawyers are still discussing "appropriate" limitations to the below-ground retail with the Department of City Planning, and are also working to identify more open space at the ground level of the development.
But the current changes haven’t made everybody happy. Community residents are disappointed no changes were made to decrease the 772 proposed parking spots. They were also underwhelmed by an indoor recreation space that would feel more like a condo amenity than a public one. Community Board Two plans to push for the rec space to take up two floors and also demand details on the ceiling height and column spacing to make sure it’ll be suitable for ball players.
- St. John's Terminal Developers Outline Changes to Proposal [DNAinfo]
- St. John's Terminal redevelopment continues to elicit concerns [Curbed]
- West Village Residents Still Hesitant Over Pier 40 Development Deal [Curbed]