Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech Tuesday included a $23 million pledge to go toward the completion of Hudson River Park. That nearly-hidden line item in the state budget represents the governor’s mediation efforts in a billionaire-vs.-billionaire feud involving Barry Diller’s 2.7-acre park at Pier 55 on the water near West 14th street (often referred to as Diller Park), Crains reports.
Following the announcement of Diller’s intent to build the park, developer Douglas Durst became a secret force behind a small but powerful opposition group. Durst’s motivation was allegedly the desire to get the larger Hudson River Park project completed. The opposition nearly derailed the project when Diller, tired of lawsuits and fights, threw in the towel in 2017.
Later the same year Cuomo announced a deal that included Durst and the City Club of New York (the organization that he was backing) agreeing to the construction of Pier 55; in exchange, the governor pledged to get the unfinished portion of Hudson River Park funded. Durst was also appointed to the park trust board.
Cuomo announced Tuesday that the state would offer up half of the $46 million the trust says it needs to complete the park: “It was started by Gov. Mario Cuomo and Mayor David Dinkins. Let Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio finally finish that park.”
The city is expected to match the state’s contribution, a request that the mayor’s office said it would consider. The park has $900 million worth of capital projects planned, including privately-funded initiatives like Diller’s and a commercial pier to be developed by RXR Realty and Youngwoo & Associates.