City Intends to Renovate Landmark Pier as a Hub
City officials have decided to try again to have a 122-year-old pier near Battery Park restored so that it can serve as a hub that links parks and attractions around the harbor to the rest of the city.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation is preparing to announce this week that it has assigned the organization that oversaw the development of Battery Park City to take on the renovation of the dilapidated historic landmark, Pier A. The Battery Park City Authority plans to sell bonds to pay for the project, which its chairman, James F. Gill, estimated would cost $30 million.
The authority, which is controlled by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, would lease the pier for about 50 years for $1 a year. After renovating the three-story Victorian building on the pier and filling it with shops, restaurants and other tenants, the authority would hand over any operating profits to the city government, Mr. Gill said on Monday.
City officials hope that the National Park Service will be one of those tenants, making the pier home to the ferries that take tourists to the Statue of Liberty and to Ellis Island. Park service officials have said they would like to move their tour boat operations from Battery Park to Pier A, but do not have an agreement with the city to do so.
Mr. Gill described attracting the park service as “the main object” in restoring the pier. He said the authority had been trying to take over redevelopment of the pier for more than a decade.
“The people at Battery Park City have been distressed by its unsightly appearance for some time now,” Mr. Gill said.
The pier juts out into the harbor at the border of Battery Park City and Battery Park. With few exceptions, it has been closed to the public for more than 20 years.
City officials see the pier as the centerpiece of their plan to unify various sites along the city’s waterfront into a harbor district. That idea had been frequently expressed by Daniel L. Doctoroff, the former deputy mayor for economic development.
Mr. Doctoroff’s successor, Robert C. Lieber, announced on Monday that Paula Berry, a former publishing executive, would serve as the first director of the harbor district. Ms. Berry is on the board of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation.
“We’re trying to reprogram this and get something going,” Mr. Lieber said of Pier A. He added that the pier had been “lying fallow for a long time.”
Mr. Gill said the transaction would not require any legislative change because the pier was in an area that was under the jurisdiction of the Battery Park City Authority. He said the authority had begun looking for an architect to design the renovation, and estimated that the work could be completed in three to five years.
That would be about a quarter-century after Edward I. Koch, the former mayor, announced plans to restore the pier. A private group had leased the pier with hopes of reviving it, but the city’s economic development agency grew frustrated by the slow pace of work and bought back the lease last year for about $8 million.
By PATRICK McGEEHAN