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Pier 40 air rights sale approved by City Planning

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The City Council will now seal the fate of this contentious deal

The plan to transform St. John’s Terminal into hundreds of apartments in the West Village has cleared a major hurdle: the City Planning Commission. The agency approved the sale of air rights from Pier 40 across the street to the development project at 550 Washington Street, which will allow the developers to build a larger project, Crain’s reports.

Developers Atlas Capital Group and Westbrook Partners are offering $100 million for the rights, and that money will be used by the Hudson River Park Trust, the organization overseeing the management of Hudson River Park (where Pier 40 is located) to carry out repairs on the piles that keep the structure afloat.

As a project of this massive scale tends to do, the redevelopment has raised concerns among community members right from the start particularly about the size (it will bring over 1,500 apartments to the neighborhood), the fact that it would lead to traffic congestion, and that it would bring big box stores to the area.

In recent months however, the developers have offered up some concessions to ease up the tension. They’re going to build a 10,000-square foot publicly-accessible recreational center, and remove a rail structure over West Houston Street that will create a more open entrance to Hudson River Park.

"Pier 40 is a treasured resource for the community and a critical revenue generator for all of Hudson River Park, and this project will enable us to make the urgently needed repairs to keep it open," Madelyn Wils, the CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust said in a statement. "We're pleased to have the City Planning Commission's support as the review process moves forward."

Some community groups like the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation still have concerns however.

"It was always assumed that the City Planning Commission would likely be unresponsive to most of these demands, and that the City Council, to which the application is now headed, would be the only way to get significant changes to the plan and protections for the surrounding neighborhood," part of statement emailed by GVSHP read.

The application will now make its way to the City Council for final approval. The City Councilman representing the area, Corey Johnson, has previously expressed his reservations about the project, and the City Council generally tends to defer to the opinion of the Councilmember representing that area, so it remains to be seen if the changes proposed by the St. John’s Terminal developers will pass muster with Johnson.

Pier 40

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