Billionaire Barry Diller Abandons Dream Of Levitating Park On The Hudson

Billionaire Barry Diller Abandons Dream Of Levitating Park On The Hudson”

Diller and Von Furstenberg were earlier responsible for the transformation of a rusted, derelict railway platform a mile and a half long that once serviced the warehouses lining the West Side along the river into the enormously popular High Line Park.

The project would have created a park off of Pier 55 at 13th Street, but it has been mired in controversy and is at the center of an ongoing legal dispute that pitted Diller against a local group known as the City Club of NY and super developer Douglas Durst.

Pier 55, the performance space planned for a floating man-made island in the Hudson River south of Midtown, was declared dead Wednesday by its chief underwriters, IAC chief Barry Diller and his wife, the clothing designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Diller's abrupt exit nearly certainly kills the project, as he and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg, pledged $130 million to the space, with the city and state footing the rest of the bill.

Mayor de Blasio said it was "very unfortunate" that billionaire Barry Diller had abandoned his plan to build a park in the Hudson River - and that the city did not have anyone else lined up to build it. But it quickly stalled because of the ongoing litigation.

Richard Emery, a lawyer for the City Club, said in a statement they were "surprised" by the news. The City Club first sued to block Diller's park in 2015, arguing that the Hudson River Park Trust failed to provide adequate time for public comment, engaged in a harried environmental review process for a project located in a protected estuary, and "violated the public trust doctrine by alienating public parkland to Pier55, Inc., a private entity".

Hudson River Trust President Madelyn Wils said in a statement that she is "deeply saddened" by this week's news. "We thought the negotiations were proceeding to a resolution", he explained.

This post has been updated.

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