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Bill to save Pier 40 fails


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Bill to save Pier 40 fails

Legislation to bolster the quickly deteriorating finances of the nonprofit that runs the Hudson River Park has failed amid disagreements on how to solve the group's money troubles.

"It is clear at this point there is not enough support to pass a bill that does what needs to be done," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

The state legislative session is slated to end Thursday.

The park's bank account is quickly dwindling in the wake of two successive years of budget deficits. Without a cash infusion, the five-mile park will exhaust its reserve fund in less than three years.

To reverse the trend, the trust sought new legislation to make Pier 40, the park's main commercial asset, more attractive to potential developers by expanding the uses allowed there, as well as the lease term. Two previous attempts to develop the pier have failed. Recently, the trust's president, Madelyn Wils, said Pier 40 might have to close by 2014 unless there is a cash infusion.

Meanwhile, roughly $118 million is needed just to make basic repairs to Pier 40, a nearly 15-acre expanse with ball fields and a 775,000-square-foot building with offices, sports facilities and a parking garage.

The trust has raised the idea of allowing residential units and a hotel to be constructed on the pier—two uses forbidden under the law that created the trust. Leaders also hoped the pier's lease term would be extended beyond 30 years. A study commissioned by the trust suggested that an 87-year lease term for its existing space at the end of West Houston Street would be ideal.

However, the proposed bill was a watered down version of what the trust thought would make sense for the Pier. It didn't allow for either residential or hotel development, nor did it definitely lengthen the lease term.

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