New parking operator at Pier 40

The Hudson River Park Trust has chosen a new operator to run the parking lot on Pier 40 at W. Houston St. Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said Standard Parking will take over on Jan. 1, 2004, from C&K Properties, which has run the parking on the pier for the last eight years.

The pier has about 2,000 spaces for long-term parking. Under the Trust’s Pier 40 interim plan, this number could increase by 800 to 900 spaces.

As for any possible increase in parking fees, Martin said, “There’s no expected rate change at the time.”

In addition, C&K held the master lease on the 15-acre pier, subleasing space to FedEx, Academy Bus and other commercial tenants, as well as the Police Department Barrier Unit. Under the Hudson River Park Act, these uses must vacate the pier by the end of 2003.

During the Trust’s search for private developers to redevelop Pier 40 into a combination park and commercial hub, C&K, under partners Meir Cohen and Ben Korman, submitted two proposals, the first including a waterborne FedEx delivery system, the second, an arts complex. Friends of Hudson River Park and ultimately Community Board 2 endorsed C&K to develop the pier. But in June, the Trust decided not to pick any of the shortlisted developers.

As part of the Pier 40 interim plan, a 3.2-acre athletic field in the pier’s courtyard is also planned to be completed by this summer.

As to if and when the Trust will make another attempt to redevelop the pier and issue a request for proposals to developers, Martin reiterated prior statements by Trust officials that the agency may do a market study for the pier.

“At some point, we may retain a consultant [to do a market study] when we reissue an R.F.P.,” Martin said. As opposed to a marketing study, which would involve how to advertise the pier, a market study, Martin said, is “a study of the market — what is the market for the pier and the market in which it sits?”

In October, Friends of Hudson River Park dropped its threatened lawsuit seeking to force the Trust to pick a developer for the pier, after the Trust allegedly agreed to restart the Pier 40 development process as soon as possible. Speaking recently, Albert Butzel, president of the Friends, said Trip Dorkey, the Trust’s chairperson, had promised to take up the Pier 40 issue with board members this winter, which Butzel said was a positive step. As for a Pier 40 market study, Butzel said, “I don’t understand what a market study would do.”

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