Pier 40 air transfer opponents mull deal-busting lawsuit

Case would hinge on adherence to zoning ordinances

Pier 40
Pier 40

The local community, in an uproar about a secret agreement to transfer $100 million worth of air rights from Hudson River Park’s Pier 40 to the St. John’s Center Site Across The Street, may soon file a lawsuit that aims to undo the sale plan completely.

Attorney Arthur Schwartz is looking into a possible lawsuit that would halt the plan, relying on an amendment regarding air-rights transfers that states such deals must be done “to the extent designated and permitted under local zoning ordinances.”

A memorandum of understanding, or M.O.U., for the air-rights deal was in signed six months ago, as a recent New York Times story revealed, between state development agency Empire State Development Corporation, the Hudson River Park Trust and Atlas Capital Group.

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Local elected officials have since written to Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of the ESDC, requesting a copy of the M.O.U. But with no document forthcoming as of this Wednesday, a group including Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Gale Brewer, state Senators Brad Hoylman and Daniel Squadron, plan to file a Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the document.

“It’s beyond ridiculous that we were promised the M.O.U. two weeks ago and haven’t received it,” State Senator Hoylman told the Villager. “I think it’s beyond preposterous that we have to FOIL our own government, our employer, for information. None of this inspires confidence in this process, which is tragic, given the needs of the park.”

The pier reportedly needs $100 million in repairs. Proponents of the air rights deal told the Villager that unless the deal is done as quickly as possible, generating a much-needed cash windfall, it will collapse into the water within two years. [The Villager]Julie Strickland