The Real Deal New York

Corey Johnson wants to block potential sale of $140M in Pier 40 air rights

Council member says he'll veto 1.7M sf St. John's development if Hudson River Park Trust sells remaining dev rights in CB2
October 26, 2016 03:50PM

Rendering of St. John’s Terminal

Rendering of St. John’s Terminal

City Council member Corey Johnson has another condition before he’ll sign off on the proposed 1.7 million-square-foot project across from Pier 40 by developers Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital. And this one could be a deal-breaker.

The councilman wants to block the Hudson River Park Trust, the public-benefit corporation that oversees Pier 40, from selling any more development rights within the surrounding neighborhoods, including the West Village, Greenwich Village and Soho.

The Hudson River Park Trust plans to sell $100 million worth of development rights — 200,000 square feet — to Westbrook and Atlas for their mixed-use development, called the St. John’s Center. The proceeds of the sale will be used to maintain the pier.

If that sale goes through, Pier 40 will have 380,000 square feet remaining, worth $140 million, and Johnson has requested that they be sold anywhere but within the bounds of Community Board 2. Otherwise, he’ll veto.

Those restrictions will make it difficult to sell the remaining development rights at all, since it would require the trust to sell to properties at distances that are unprecedented in the city, due to land-use laws and other restrictions.

The trust, not surprisingly, opposes Johnson’s proposal. The organization plans to use the air rights to redevelop Per 40, or use them to fund its maintenance. “Our ability to sustain the pier and park long-term depends on our ability to redevelop and generate revenue at Pier 40,” a Hudson River Park Trust spokesperson told Crain’s.

Johnson has also made the city’s approval of a 10-block extension to the West Village Historic District a condition to his approval. [Crain’s]Chava Gourarie