The Real Deal New York

Bloomberg supported controversial Pier 40 plan

Proposal to transfer air rights to St. John's Terminal Building now undergoing land use review

September 10, 2014 10:20AM

From left: Former deputy mayor Bob Steel with Michael Bloomberg and Pier 40

From left: Former deputy mayor Robert Steel with Michael Bloomberg and Pier 40

Just one week before leaving office, the Bloomberg administration signaled that it would support an unpublicized plan to sell air rights tied to a Tribeca pier, which later sparked controversy before falling through.

The proposal would have transferred air rights from Pier 40 to the site of the St. John’s Terminal Building across the street, the New York Times discovered earlier this year. In exchange for those air rights, the owner of the building, Atlas Capital Group, would have provided $100 million to renovate the pier, which was in danger of collapse.

That plan was laid out in a memorandum of understanding among Atlas Capital, the Empire State Development and the Hudson River Park Trust, which manages the pier. Some neighbors and local elected officials opposed the transaction and threatened a lawsuit.

Last December, Robert Steel, former deputy mayor for economic development, sent a letter to Empire State Development approving a preliminary plan to transfer the air rights and laying out certain conditions for its continued support, Crain’s reported.

The plan is now going through the city’s land use review process at the request of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, according to the website. [Crain’s]Tom DiChristopher

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