$200 million Diller Island (Pier 55) performing arts center hits judicial setback

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A US District Court judge has thrown a monkey wrench into the $200 million proposal for Diller Island (Pier 55), a performing arts centre on a new Manhattan pier.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield ruled in favor of project opponents, The New York Times has reported. She ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had improperly failed to consider the project site a protected fish and wildlife sanctuary when it issued the permit. The state legislation creating the five-mile long Hudson River Park “states as its sole purpose in creating the Estuarine Sanctuary the protection of fish and wildlife resources.”

While Richard D. Emery, a lawyer for the City Club and other opponents, described the decision as “a clear, solid victory,” the project’s proponents have indicated the story isn’t over.

“In my view, the decision makes it virtually impossible for Pier 55 to proceed,” Emery was quoted as saying in the Times, which also reported:

The Hudson River Park Trust, which oversees the five-mile park where the new pier would be built, and Mr. Diller could appeal. They issued a joint statement on Thursday:

“We have won four challenges in four courts and are deeply disappointed by this decision. We are reviewing the ruling to determine next steps.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Hudson River Park Trust, various elected officials and the local community board support the project, designed to replace a crumbling pier that had been used by the Hudson River Park Trust for concerts and other activities.

The newspaper says the project’s cost has swelled to more than $200 million from an initial $130 estimate three years ago.