Published On: Tue, Jun 10th, 2014

Atlas Capital’s Plans to Transfer Air Rights From Manhattan’s Pier 40 Have Been Scrubbed

New York’s Atlas Capital’s ambitious plans for Manhattan’s St. Johns Terminal Park may have been thwarted.

Atlas Capital - Pier-40-image-for-LLLG


Just last month a bold new proposal to allow for the reconstruction of two New York City landmarks located opposite one another along the Hudson River in lower Manhattan was announced. It entailed transferring the air rights from Pier 40 on the Lower West Side of Manhattan to the St. John’s Park Terminal opposite the park in order to build a new four story building there.

But those plans have now been scuttled due to the threat of law suits and the complaints by politicians about how it was approved.

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Attorney Arthur Schwartz has filed a lawsuit to block the proposed air rights transfer on the grounds that an environmental impact study must be conducted first.

Complaints also revolve around a memorandum of understanding on the transfer deal which was signed six months ago between the Park’s officials, The Empire State Development Corporation and Atlas Capital Group.

Local politicians have complained that Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of the ESDC, never provided them with a copy of the memorandum as per their requests. They are now considering making an official request for it under the Freedom of Information Act. The Act would apply since Pier 40 is a publicly run property.

At issue is the fact that the memorandum refers to a state-run General Project Plan and not New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. This procedure would allow for much greater community review of the project as well as binding votes by the City Planning Department and the City Council.

Area politicians signed a joint letter opposing a GPP process.

Atlas Capital - Selldorf Architects  St. John's Terminal Rede


Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said, “Full transparency is required. We were all shocked to learn of this secret M.O.U. I am happy the city is committed to bringing the process under city review and including community input.”

All funds from the sale of Pier 40’s air rights must, by a law passed last June, be used only for the Pier’s repairs.

The Pier 40 Trust is expected to release a report which will assert that without a much needed cash infusion to pay for renovations, the pier could completely collapse into the Hudson within two years. Pier 40 says that it needs $100 million for the repairs.

A state-run General Project Plan or Uniform Land Use Review Procedure may still take place on the site.

St. John’s Park Terminal is a dilapidated old freight building opposite Pier 40 on the Lower West Side of Manhattan. It is co owned by the Atlas Capital Group which has put forward a $100 million plan to acquire the air rights needed in order to rebuild it.

As reported in Jewish Business News last month, Atlas wants to demolish the old the three-block-long, four-story freight terminal building at 550 Washington Street and replace it with new commercial buildings for retail stores, as well as new residential units.

Founded in March 2006 by Jeffrey A. Goldberger and Andrew B. Cohen, Atlas Capital invests in real estate around the world. It has formed strategic partnerships with institutional investors in many countries and has a portfolio of $2.5 billion in residential, commercial and development assets. Operating hotels in cities like New York and Dublin, Atlas is a full service real estate investment, development and management firm which handles property management, construction, leasing, accounting, legal and financial analysis.


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