UPDATED, Friday, March 24, 2:15 p.m: The development of Pier 55 was dealt a major setback Thursday, with a United States District Court judge ruling in favor of the group that’s worked consistently to sink the project.
Judge Lorna Schofield ordered work on the park to stop, and called for a review of the impact the project would have on fish and wildlife, the New York Times reported. Ultimately, she found that the Army Corps of Engineers had not properly considered the site a protected fish and wildlife sanctuary when issuing its permit.
It’s a major win for the City Club of New York, which has launched a series of lawsuits to scuttle the development. The lawyer acting for the club and other opponents said the decision is a “clear, solid victory” and that “the decision makes it virtually impossible” for Pier 55 to go ahead.
In a statement, the Hudson River Trust said it was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling, and is “reviewing it carefully” to determine the next steps. “We have won four challenges in four courts on this project. Not one of those decisions determined the proposed project would harm the environment — and neither does this one.”
The island park is funded by IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller and his fashion designer wife Diane Von Fustenberg.
Last year, Diller accused real estate mogul Douglas Durst of secretly funding the spate of lawsuits against the park. Durst would not say whether he was, in fact, bankrolling the suits, but he did say he is in “favor of the litigation.”
Sometimes called “Diller’s Island,” the proposed park would bring 2.4 acres of trees surrounding three separate performance venues to the Hudson River. Its estimated cost is over $200 million. [NYT] — Miriam Hall
This story has been updated to include a comment from the Hudson River Park Trust.