Pier 40 Air Rights Transfer Must Go Through ULURP

Brad Hoylman

May 21, 2014

On May 16, my colleagues in government and I were shocked to learn that the State and the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) had secretly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last December with Atlas Capital Group, which co-owns the St. John’s Building at 550 Washington Street. The MOU was apparently signed in anticipation of the transfer of air rights through a General Project Plan (GPP) from Pier 40 in the Hudson River Park to the St. John’s site, which is directly across the West Side Highway, without going through New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
Two weeks earlier, concerned that such a plan may have been in the works, my colleagues and I wrote to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio jointly opposing the use of a GPP to transfer air rights from Hudson River Park. Please see our letter below.

I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio has heeded our call and is insisting that this proposed transfer of air rights must utilize ULURP instead of a GPP. This is welcome news for local control over our land use decisions, which is the hallmark of ULURP. The de Blasio Administration’s decision ensures that the community board and local elected officials will have input on this enormous project. A GPP, on the other hand, would be an end run around the local zoning process and deny the public the opportunity to weigh in sufficiently.