NEW YORK — Given the commercial boom brought on by the opening of the High Line’s second section and the ever-burgeoning Meatpacking District, it makes perfect sense that development plans for Pier 57 are marching ahead.
The 375,000-square-foot waterfront property between West 15th Street and West Street will be home to stores, cafes, cultural attractions, a two-acre rooftop park and marina, among other things. Developers are keeping mum about potential anchor tenants they have approached for the two-tier public market space, but they are also intent on attracting artisanal shops, small-scale designers and local artists.
After a fire struck what was the Grace Line Pier in 1947, the site was rebuilt in 1952 by the city’s Department of Marine and Aviation. Vacant since 2004, the decrepit lime green structure has been considered an eyesore for years, despite being listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Now Lot-EK and Youngwoo & Associates are mapping out a new design for the long floating pier. For the most part, the building will be preserved and recycled shipping containers will be used to house retail, public spaces and work studios, which are expected to open by the end of 2012 or early 2013. The winning design was awarded by the Hudson River Park Trust.
Their plan includes a 170,000-square-foot covered, open-air public market — to be run by Urban Space Management, which runs public markets in Grand Central Terminal and Union Square here, as well as the one at Camden Lock and others in London. USM executives declined to comment but Pier 57 will be New York’s first large-scale concentration of year-round, affordable work and retail space for artisans and other small businesses.
The project is expected to cost $210 million, according to a progress report issued by the Hudson River Park Trust. Earlier this month members of the community gathered for the first public hearing about the project. An Environmental Impact Statement is under way and should take at least 12 months to complete, said Youngwoo & Associates development manager Norm Roumanous. Several culinary schools have been approached about having a presence at Pier 57, but none have signed on just yet, he said.
This will not be the first creative use of shipping containers on the Hudson River, which were the bedrock for the Nomadic Museum, an art installation at Pier 54 in 2005. That’s when Tokyo architect Shigeru Ban teamed up with the artist Gregory Colbert to showcase “Ashes and Snow,” an exhibition of the latter’s 200 large-scale photographs. The show was later shipped out to be staged in California and then the Vatican.