The Real Deal New York

He’s baaaack: Durst appointed to Hudson River Park Trust

Developer notoriously clashed with media mogul Barry Diller over Pier 55
January 15, 2018 10:30AM

Douglas Durst, Gale Brewer and Hudson River Park

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer named Douglas Durst on Friday to the board of Hudson River Park Trust, the latest twist in the saga over the park that notoriously pitted Durst against media mogul Barry Diller.

Ostensibly, Durst is there to finish the sprawling park, Crain’s reported.

“I asked him to join the board—he didn’t volunteer or ask me,” Brewer said. “I think he loves the park.”

Durst had been chairman of the trust’s fundraising partner, Friends of Hudson River Park, when it formed in 1999, but he and about half a dozen other board members were pushed out in 2011.

Durst was reportedly sour over his ousting, and when Diller came up with a plan to build a floating park and performance space over the river at Pier 55, the real estate tycoon secretly funded a lawsuit that sought to sink the project.

The lawsuit was, ultimately, unsuccessful. But in September Diller nixed plans for the project, as costs ballooned form the initial projection of $35 million to $250 million.

But a month later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he had brokered a deal to revive the project.

Roughly 25 percent of the park’s green space remains unbuilt, including a concrete pier across from the Durst Organization’s rental building Via 57 West.

Durst said in a statement that he was grateful “to continue my service to one of New York’s great treasures and most important green spaces.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the trust board and our partners in government at the city and state to finish the park,” the statement read.

The Hudson River Park Trust, which would normally issue a statement to welcome a new board member, declined to comment to Crain’s. [Crain’s]Rich Bockmann