The Real Deal New York

Douglas Durst might be fighting a proxy war to stop Pier 55

Barry Diller says real estate titan wanted pier project to be auctioned to developers
September 06, 2016 08:30AM

A rendering of Pier 55 and Douglas Durst

IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller says the spate of lawsuits filed by a persistent foe to stop the development of Pier 55 is being secretly funded by none other than Douglas Durst.

Diller says the real estate mogul has been arming City Club of New York with the necessary financial capital to file a barrage of lawsuits to delay construction of the island park, sometimes called “Diller Island.”

Durst TRData LogoTINY won’t say if he’s financing the legal battle, but told the New York Times, “I do not like the process or the project and I am in favor of the litigation.”

If you ask Diller, Durst’s grievances stem from when he was pushed out as a board member of the Friends of the Hudson River Park, the group tasked with redeveloping Pier 54. Durst fumed at being pushed aside, according to the Times, and took umbrage with the new chair courting Diller to shepherd and pay for the cash-starved project.

Diller claims Durst told him he “didn’t like the process” and also said there should have been an environmental review of the project as well as an auction offering the pier project to developers.

Another party to the City Club suit is Tom Fox, an ex-member of the Friends board who worked for Durst at New York Water Taxi. The lawyer who filed the suit, Richard Emery, also has a Durst connection — he represented him in another matter.

Diller’s plan, with 2.4 acres of trees surrounding three separate performance venues, has jumped from an estimated $130 million in costs to over $200 million. The next court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. [NYT]James Kleimann