In early July 2016, Terreform was approached by a representative of Manhattan CB2 for its opinion about the proposed development at 550 Washington Street and the facilitating transfer of 200,000 square feet of air rights from Pier 40. In exchange, Hudson River Park Trust would receive $100 million to renovate the pier that is widely regarded as a critical community asset, the more so for being one a few public open spaces of such capacious dimensions in an area with a dramatically low per capita public space inventory.
While we are generally supportive of adaptive re-use or rebuilding on the St. John’s site – and had earlier suggested it as a potential location for the expansion of NYU - we find that the current proposal is both over-large and too narrowly planned to fully leverage the opportunities presented by the site and to fulfill the obligations of such a massive undertaking to a neighborhood in the course of dramatic transition. Our first study found it deficient in a number of areas detailed here.
Our continued research considers alternative scenarios to the proposed 430' saliently out of scale tower complex. First, we explore the disaggregation of the 200,000 square feet into much smaller increments that could be added as a series of bonuses to the on-going wave on construction in the area. Yet another would simply be to gerrymander a 1.5 million square foot skyscraper into the thicket of towers under construction in Hudson Yards, an area already given over to large-scale building that has a huge underbuilt perimeter. Lastly, we consider a scenario if Barry Diller were civic minded, the money for his little entertainment island would be better spent on the Pier 40 renovation- and the island’s entertainment program would easily be accommodated without displacing the ball fields.
Read the final report.