In push to attract more businesses, city taps private company to operate waterfront sites

April 09, 2013 09:00AM

In a bid to boost usage of piers and increase business on the waterfront, the city has tapped BillyBey Marina Services LLC, an offshoot of the ferry company that operates in New York harbor, to manage seven city-owned waterfront sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, the Wall Street Journal reported.

BillyBey will join with the nonprofit Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance to form DockNYC, which will handle reservations, market pier amenities and attract business to the waterfront. The Manhattan facilities include the West Harlem Piers in the Hudson River, Skyport Marina, an area in Stuyvesant Cove in the East River and Pier 36. In Brooklyn, BillyBey will take over Piers 11 and 12 at Atlantic Basin in Red Hook and Pier 4 at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. In Staten Island, the company will manage Homeport Pier.

City officials hope that bringing in a single operator will ease up the permit application process and increase the appeal of the waterfront as a business destination.

The new arrangement “will increase efficiency by streamlining administrative functions at these sites,” New York City Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Kyle Kimball told the Journal.

“BillyBey’s experience will help attract new commercial, transportation, and recreational opportunities to the waterfront, advancing the city’s strategy to reconnect New Yorkers to the waterfront while allowing the city to maximize resources along the coastline.”

BillyBey already manages berthing facilities – including the landings at World Financial Center and Pier 79 on Manhattan’s West Side — for city agencies, the company’s chief executive Paul Goodman told the Journal.

“The problem has been that the city process just takes too long for most people,” Mr. Goodman said. “You need quicker turnaround time. With the city, it could take weeks to issue a permit; that just doesn’t work for most in the marine world.” [WSJ]Hiten Samtani