Diller Island opponents preparing for next legal challenge

A modified permits means construction can move ahead: Hudson River Park Trust

Barry Diller, Douglas Durst and a rendering of Pier 55 (Illustration by Noah Patrick Pfarr)
Barry Diller, Douglas Durst and a rendering of Pier 55 (Illustration by Noah Patrick Pfarr)

A lawyer for the opponents of Pier 55, the pet project of billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, says a new permit issued for the park will lead to yet another lawsuit aimed at stopping the development.

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued permit for a revised plan for the island, the New York Times reported. With this new permit, development of the park will move ahead “expeditiously,” a spokesperson for the Hudson River Park Trust said.

The project hit a major roadblock in March when a U.S. district court judge ruled that work on the park had to stop because the Army Corps of Engineers had not properly considered the site a protected fish and wildlife sanctuary when issuing its original permit.

It was a major victory for the City Club of New York, which has launched a series of lawsuits to stop the development. Durst Organization [TRDataCustom] head Douglas Durst has admitted to secretly funding litigation aimed at derailing the park development.

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“I had a feeling they were going to rush the permit, given all the political forces behind it,” Richard Emery, the lawyer for the opponents of the project, told the Times. “It will undoubtedly result in a new challenge.”

The park is supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the local community board. Its estimated cost has jumped from $130 million to $250 million, according to the Times.

Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, and his fashion designer wife Diane Von Fustenburg, are funding the majority of costs for the park, which feature 2.4 acres of trees and three separate performance venues.

In May, Diller said he has grown “ambivalent” about the project, the Times reported. [NYT]Miriam Hall