Trust architect suggests further delays likely

Heavy equipment for the pile driving work to build the Hudson River Park’s Tribeca segment arrived Monday, but one of the park Trust’s architects said Wednesday that a possible redesign of the Pier 26 boathouse is likely to cause further delays in the financially-troubled project.

Andrew Lavallee of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, the firm in charge of the project, told Community Board 1 Waterfront Committee members and kayakers that a redesign of the building’s outer structure, could mean the loss of the pile-driving season and cost the project a full year. The pile-driving season is May 1 to Nov. 1.

“There is a very clear relationship between the footprint and driving the piles,” Lavallee said. “If we want to change the footprint, you’re looking at a four- to six-month delay.”

Lavallee said he was happy to work with C.B. 1, the kayakers and the Trust to make the necessary changes, but he needs specifics from the kayakers.

“We’ve heard some of your comments and suggested a different layout,” Lavallee said. “We need some sort of consensus as to what you want us to provide.”

Kayakers said there was not enough space in the current plans for 18-foot and longer boats to maneuver inside the building, and want to increase the building’s width to 54 feet from the current 42 feet.

Julie Nadel, chairperson of the C.B. 1 Waterfront Committee and a member of the Trust’s board, said she wanted kayakers to be directly involved with the architects on the redesign.

Nadel asked that Lavallee and Mathews Nielsen not make any changes to the current design until the board’s next meeting on Wed., May 17 at 4 p.m. at the C.B. 1 offices.

Connie Fishman, the Trust’s president, attended the meeting and mainly acted as a mediator when kayakers and others interrupted each other. Over the last few weeks, Fishman has revealed that $70 million in federal money, that once was thought to be enough to build almost all of the Tribeca segment, will now not be enough to cover any of the park elements. Rising construction costs mean the Trust has enough to rebuild Piers 25 and 26, but none of the park features that used to be there.

— Jennifer Milne

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