Pier 57’s First Stage to Begin with Shipping Container Mall

First conceived of in 2009, the Pier 57 makeover, located across from the Westside Highway at 15th Street, is finally underway. The first stage of the development, headed by developer YoungWoo and Associates, will take the form of a mall made of shipping containers. YoungWoo and Associates will set up shipping containers as stores for approximately 60 retailers with an expected completion date of this April. The Hudson River Park Board and community advocates chose Lot-Ek and YoungWoo as the designers for the new Pier 57 over competing designs from the Related Companies and the Durst Organization. What they liked about Lot-Ek and YoungWoo’s design was the provisions for green space, reductions in vehicular trips, and the respect for the pier’s industrial history. One of the only questions is whether or not rents will go up in West Chelsea again once the project is completed.

In addition to all of the beauty inherent in the chosen design, the Hudson River Park Board was also impressed by the proposed price of $191 million, compared with Durst’s proposed $330 million and Related’s $353 million. Lot-Ek said that the cost has been kept low due to the reliance on pre-fab units. And with YoungWoo’s plans for the shipping containers, the space would bring in revenue rather quickly. YoungWoo hopes to rent out many work-sell spaces as incubators for local artisans. Once the mall is complete in April, rents will start at $3,000 a month, rising to $5,500 a month when the entire project is complete in Spring 2015. This emphasis on artists should help to keep the area active during off hours and import urban activity to the pier.

On top of this, there will be a screening area on the rooftop garden for the Tribeca Film Festival, another possible source of revenue as well as an additional way to bring people to the pier. Perhaps the most innovative and unique feature will be the use of defunct airplane fuselages as wide columns that double as food kiosks, performance spaces, and areas for other activities. Much like the Highline, Pier 57 looks slated to become New York City’s next beautiful park and cultural hub. Also much like the Highline, Pier 57’s makeover is expected to affect rents again, causing them to rise due to the proximity to the new park.