Another of Thomas Heatherwick’s river-based leisure projects has been scrapped, less than two months after London’s Garden Bridge was abandoned
Backers of plans for an island park on New York’s Hudson River have pulled the plug on the project in the face of vociferous criticism from opponents.
Millionaire Barry Diller and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, had bankrolled the plan for Pier 55, which would have included an amphitheatre and performance spaces.
However, Diller last week told the New York Times: ‘Because of the huge escalating costs and the fact it would have been a continuing controversy over the next three years I decided it was no longer viable for us to proceed.’
The newspaper reported that the project’s costs had mushroomed from $35 million to $250 million due to design complexities and legal challenges.
Last year, urban environmental campaign group, the City Club of New York, launched a case against Heatherwick’s client, the Hudson River Park Trust.
The group said that the trust had failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment of the proposals.
It also said that the trust should have carried out a competitive bidding process before accepting a $100 million-plus donation towards the scheme from Diller and von Furstenberg.
A third ground for challenge was that events held on the island would exclude members of the public and restrict entry by ability to pay.
Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, told the New York Times that she was ‘deeply saddened’ by Diller’s decision, ’not simply because this would’ve been one of the world’s greatest piers, but because this was a project the community so resoundingly wanted, and that millions would one day enjoy.’