Barry Diller's Plan For A Floating Hudson River Performance Center Is Dead
The billionaire head of IAC proposed a $35M reconstruction of the crumbling Pier 54 into a state-of-the-art park with entertainment venues and an amphitheater in 2011. Hudson River Park Trust, which owns Pier 54, supported the plan, but a small and well-funded opposition, combined with the high price of constructing an elaborate structure, caused Diller to call it quits, the New York Times reports.
“Because of the huge escalating costs and the fact it would have been a continuing controversy over the next three years I decided it was no longer viable for us to proceed,” Diller told the Times.
The initial $35M price tag had already ballooned to $170M by the time of its official announcement in 2014, but IAC and the Hudson River Park Trust showed no signs of giving up then. In 2016, Diller accused Douglas Durst, founder of The Durst Organization, of bankrolling a lawsuit from the opposition group, called the City Club of New York. Although the idea had support from the trust, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other major politicians, ongoing settlement talks took the wind out of Diller's sails.
In an email to his supporters explaining the end of his plans — nicknamed Diller Island by some — the head of IAC claimed that while the idea was still good, a “tiny group of people had used the legal system to essentially drive us crazy and drive us out.”