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$140M In Development Rights Could Be Worthless If City Councilman Gets His Way


As a condition for approving Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group’s 1.7M SF St. John’s Terminal mixed-use development, City Councilman Corey Johnson wants to block development right transfers from Pier 40 to other properties in his district, which includes the West Village, Greenwich Village and Soho. 

Hudson River Park Trust, the public-benefit corporation that manages the pier, is planning to sell 200k SF of development rights to the St. John’s project, but Johnson’s condition could be a deal-breaker. Not only does Johnson still have the power to veto St. John’s, he’s also demanded the city approve a 10-block historic district in Greenwich Village, Crain’s reports. 

If the sale is approved, Pier 40 would have 380k SF of remaining rights, which could be worth more than $140M. It would also have the $100M Westbrook and Atlas agreed to pay, and was approved by the City Planning Commission, to repair the pier’s steel pilings. 

But if the trust can’t sell the rights within Community Board 2, it’ll be even harder to sell the rights to sites to other community boards, especially if the other boards adopt similar restrictions and prevent the trust from selling the rights from the other piers it manages.

The trust opposes Johnson's proposal, as it hopes to use funds from rights transfers to maintain the pier’s athletic fields and possibly redevelop Pier 40 into an office complex

The pier’s also in desperate need of repairs. At a City Planning Commission meeting in August, Johnson claimed these repairs would cost $21.5M and demanded the city foot the bill. [Crain's]