Construction Of $220 Million ‘Island’ Off Manhattan Draws Yet Another Legal Challenge

Plans to build an island-like structure in the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan have hit another snag and brought forth more construction-related litigation, according to local news reports. The Pier 55 project, which would result in a $220 million “floating” island and performing arts center on the river, would span nearly 3 artificially-created acres held up by 550 piles driven into the river bed. According to a July 2017 report from land development news website Curbed, the City Club of New York is challenging an approved permit modification and claims that the Hudson River Park Trust changed construction methods to “avoid statutory environmental mandates.” According to attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, who has successfully represented clients on both sides of construction litigation, the Pier 55 saga shows how the law is supposed to work and gives both sides a fair shake regardless of the outcome.

The Curbed report adds that the nixing of noise-reducing trees from the site, as well as getting rid of a barge that was supposed to “minimize damage to the appearance of the island and the quality of performances.” While the recently-filed lawsuit does throw a wrench into the construction approval that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received in June 2017, Hudson River Park Trust told the news website that the City Club’s claims are “without merit,” but they hope that a “constructive resolution” is reached “in the near future.” On the other hand, the City Club contends on its website that Pier 55, “together with its forest of supporting piles, would fully obscure that view which from a length of the embankment exceeding more than two city blocks.”

To attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, this court dispute over some rather important and unique New York City real estate highlights the necessity to have the right law firm advocating on a party’s behalf with the relevant skill and knowledge to win the dispute. Mr. Benjamin takes this view because as a New York-area attorney, he’s seen the impact that inadequate counsel with inadequate experience can have on individuals and business clients alike. As the City Club contends, certain environmental impact studies have been ignored and the fact that the Pier 55 project is privately funded by a businessman, who is also the senior executive of Expedia, further muddies the waters of the Hudson River. However, this is where the law comes into play. If one party can prove in court that regulations that should have been followed were not, then it was worth the time and effort to present the challenge in court. The consequences of no strong dispute can be disastrous.

For readers who think that a real estate development in the New York City or Long Island areas isn’t playing by the rules, don’t hesitate to reach out to Mr. Benjamin for legal opinion.

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