New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has chosen the Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to redevelop Pier A, the historic three-story pier located at the southern tip of Lower Manhattan, just blocks from Ground Zero. Plans for the pier, built in 1886, have not yet been determined. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also announced today that Paula Berry will serve as Director of the Harbor District, a newly formed position created to spur the development of a unified waterfront region offering increased access and recreational activities for New Yorkers and visitors. The Harbor District includes nine existing and planned sites in Upper New York Harbor, including Atlantic Basin (planned), Battery Park City, Brooklyn Bridge Park (planned), East River Esplanade (planned) Governors Island (planned), Hudson River Park, the Statue of Liberty and National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty State Park.
“For more than two decades, there have been discussions about developing Pier A in a way that benefits from its prime location on New York Harbor and serves the residents of Lower Manhattan, and today we are taking a major step towards making it happen, said Mayor Bloomberg. “Given the Battery Park City Authority’s record of success developing and maintaining the public property to the north of the pier, I am confident the restoration of this historic, 120-year-old pier will serve as an important part of the renaissance underway today in Lower Manhattan. I’m also happy that Paula Berry is joining EDC to spearhead our efforts to create a unified Harbor District and improve access for all New Yorkers to what is clearly one of our most valuable resources.”
“The redevelopment of this pier is another critical step in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan, “said Governor Spitzer. “The Battery Park City Authority, with its unparalleled record of success developing its property downtown, is the ideal group to complete this project and ensure Pier A recaptures its former glory. This announcement is just one of many efforts that we are undertaking to improve the overall quality of life in Lower Manhattan. I am pleased that over the past year we have brought new focus and energy to these and other important projects, including the construction of the Freedom Tower and WTC Memorial.”
Pier A is a 30,000 square-foot facility containing three floors of usable space. It was originally part of the Battery Park City footprint when the Authority was created in 1969. The pier was later removed from the Battery Park City project area to be developed as a separate entity. It was leased to Wings Point Development Corporation in 1997, but they returned control of the pier back to the City when their plans for redevelopment could not be completed. Though BPCA will develop the pier, NYCEDC will retain ownership of the property.
“I am thrilled that the Battery Park City Authority has been chosen to complete this project,” said BPCA Chairman James F. Gill. “It is one of the top issues among our residents to have this pier up and running again. We look forward to working with the City to make sure Pier A is once again a favored destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.”
“The Battery Park City Authority’s record speaks for itself, and I know under their direction Pier A will once again afford the public with continuous access to the waterfront and provide another landing site for water-borne transportation,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber. “Today we also move a step closer to realizing our vision for a unified Harbor District by bringing on Paula Berry, whose blend of private sector experience and public service will ensure that we have an effective advocate with a proven ability to build consensus.”
“We are eager to begin the process of designing a plan for the best use of the pier,” said BPCA President James Cavanaugh. “Though we can not say what those plans are at the moment, we do know that they will include the same stringent sustainable features as our other projects within Battery Park City.”
The BPCA is a public benefit corporation created by the New York State Legislature in 1968 to develop a 92-acre site at the southwestern tip of Lower Manhattan. Parcels are leased to developers who build in accordance with BPCA guidelines, which now incorporate “green” provisions mandating state-of-the-art environmental specifications to maximize energy efficiency and minimize water usage, among other provisions.
“I’d like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer for their leadership in identifying one of New York City’s most important assets – our harbor – and articulating a unified vision for the Harbor District” said Paula Berry, Director of the Harbor District. “New York City’s harbor district will combine cultural assets, recreational activities, and historic elements that are accessible by water, creating a unique and exciting destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.”
In her new role as Director of the Harbor District, Berry is charged with creating a cohesive Harbor District brand and destination and improving transportation to spur greater visitation among Harbor sites. It is envisioned that the District will be served by both a water transportation system and a network of bikeways. Prior to her appointment, Berry spent more than twenty years in the publishing industry. For the past six years, Berry has been dedicated to the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. She served as the only 9/11 family member on the jury that selected the design for the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial and is currently on the board and co-chair of the program committee for the National September 11th Memorial and Museum Foundation. Berry graduated with honors from Harvard with a B.A. in history and received a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University. She was raised in Oregon and currently lives with her three sons in Brooklyn.