Ross, Durst In Battle For Pier 57 Development

The bruising, drawn-out skirmish over the development of Pier 40 in the far West Village apparently has not scared the real estate world away from the water. A few blocks to the north, by West 15th Street, another site, Pier 57, has attracted the eyes of development heavies, as three firms submitted bids to the Hudson River Park Trust on Oct. 17 to develop the pier, numerous people familiar with the bids told The Observer.

Stephen RossRelated Companies, the firm that was beaten back earlier this year by Village residents from creating a mega-entertainment complex at Pier 40, is back for more, as is Douglas Durst, in a joint venture between his Durst Organization and C & K Properties. Young Woo & Associates, a smaller developer that recently built the 20-story Chelsea Arts Tower on West 25th Street, is also bidding.

The pier is owned by the Hudson River Park Trust, the city/state agency that needs revenue from the development to fund maintenance of the park. A spokesman for the trust confirmed that the three teams submitted bids.

The pier has been slated for development for more than four years, but has run into obstacles. The Witkoff Group and Cipriani were selected to develop the pier in 2005, and planned to make an Italian-themed marketplace. Trouble hit in 2006, when the Cipriani family dropped out of the proposal. The Witkoff Group ultimately withdrew its proposal earlier this year.

All of this comes as the trust has been fighting to meet its long-established goal of funding park maintenance with cash mostly from development on three large sites: Pier 40, Pier 57 and Chelsea Piers. West Village residents vehemently and successfully resisted the Related plan at Pier 40, which included a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil, though a solution at the pier remains elusive.

Pier 57 is significantly smaller than Pier 40, and the trust prohibits any development of residential, hotel and most commercial space. Mr. Durst is including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan as part of his bid, currently based on West 83rd Street. 

“CMOM is an integral component of our plan for the pier that will showcase a rich and varied array of cultural, recreational, dining and retail uses as well as ample open space and public amenities,” Durst spokesman Jordan Barowitz said in a statement.

The other two developers stayed mum on their bids.

ebrown@observer.com