Production studio proposal at Pier 94 set for final hearing

It’s the moment of truth for plans to develop Manhattan’s first full-scale, purpose-built film, television and digital-content production studio.

The proposal for obsolete Pier 94 on the Hudson River near West 54th Street will undergo its final public hearing on May 24 at the Dept. of Citywide Services.

The studio plan stems from an agreement between the city’s Economic Development Corp. and a joint-venture development team being formed by Vornado, Hudson Pacific Properties and Blackstone.

Following the hearing, the deal is expected to go to Mayor Eric Adams for approval despite some neighborhood griping.

Plans for the pier were first announced in 2011 and significantly amended in 2021.

The original proposal was for a giant trade show facility. But the state’s decision to vastly expand the nearby Jacob Javits Convention Center made the step redundant.

Demolition of the old pier, which is currently being used as a small-scale trade show venue, is to begin in the fall.

The studio complex will have about 230,000 square feet.

Terms require that the developers start construction within six months of the lease signing and to substantially complete work four years after the signing.

Rendering of the proposed film, television and digital-content production studio at Pier 94.
Rendering of the proposed film, television and digital-content production studio at Pier 94.
Credit: Vornado Realty Trust

Responding to neighborhood concerns, the developers also agreed to provide public toilets in Hudson River Park, an 1,850-square-foot community amenity space, 25,000 square feet of waterfront open space and safety improvements to the bikeway.

Some Community Board 4 members grumbled that Vornado should pay to restore derelict Pier 92, which is adjacent to Pier 94 and was originally to be part of the project.

But the argument was moot given that Vornado’s 2011 lease with the Economic Development Corp. clearly placed responsibility for Pier 92’s repairs on the city.

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