The Real Estate Board of New York to The Department of Small Business on the Proposed Redevelopment of Pier 94

Madeline DeCerbo

Senior Urban Planner

May 23, 2023

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REBNY thanks the New York City Department of Small Business for the opportunity to testify on the proposed lease agreement with Vornado and EDC for a film and studio use for Pier 94 and the redevelopment of the public open space and waterfront access.

Vornado, a preeminent owner, manager, and developer in Manhattan, proposes to develop in consultation with New York City Economic Development Corporation film and television production space at Pier 94 and the headhouse. The proposed development will provide improvements and amenities to the public realm such as public open space and waterfront access, which fulfills long standing commitments to the community and aligns with the applicant’s previous proposal in 2009 that received preliminary approval from the Public Design Commission and approvals by the City Planning Commission and City Council. While the current proposal is smaller than the original redevelopment, it maintains the full amount of public open space as proposed in 2009. REBNY supports the proposed amended lease and redevelopment of Pier 94.

The goal of this project is to enhance the infrastructure at Pier 94 to support the use of a film studio, which will advance the growth of the film and television industry in New York City. The film industry plays a leading role in the City’s economy and culture. Within New York City, it accounts for 2% of all jobs, 2% wages, and 4% of output. The project will provide economic development, job creation and public realm improvements, inclusive of over 400 film and TV jobs, over 1,300 construction jobs and $250 million in private investment and is projected to have an economic impact of $6.4 billion over its lifetime. The applicant will provide 1,850 gross square feet of community amenity space and an estimated 25,000 square feet of new publicly accessible open space. Additionally, it includes sustainability goals such as maximizing onsite renewable energy generation with an array on the Headhouse, the capacity to implement battery storage when feasible, and reduce water use through efficient fixtures, as well as EV charging capacity in the parking garage.

REBNY joins other stakeholders in supporting the proposed development of Pier 94 and the headhouse. The development takes into consideration the City’s ambitious climate goals included in the City of Yes Zoning for Carbon Neutrality text amendments and is in line with the Zoning for Economic Opportunity goals which seek to support small businesses and entrepreneurs and allow for buildings to accommodate new types of uses. The proposed development will provide greater outdoor public access for the surrounding community while providing an economic benefit to the city through increased jobs and private investment. REBNY urges the City to move forward with the approval of this project.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

Topics Covered

  • Business