NEW YORK – New York City has lagged behind places like Boston and San Francisco in developing its shoreline, but it is gradually catching up, with Greek-Americans like Peter Poulakakos taking the lead.
Poulakakos has joined with the Dermot Company to turn Pier A on New York Harbor, a picturesque docktop structure topped by a clock tower, into a restaurant and event space that will open in the Spring of 2014.
The three-level, 38,000-square-foot structure originally contained offices for New York’s docks department and eventually was used to greet arriving dignitaries, like King George VI during the 1939 World’s Fair before finally being used as a command post for fire boats.
The promising site has seen a number of development plans come and go and was been abandoned for decades.
A number of spots of the Manhattan shoreline sit in silent testimony to failed development plan while other location have been successfully turned into public parks.
The Bloomberg administration has been more aggressive and new project in the works include the establishment of bistros, hotels and apartment complexes.
“We feel like, what took the city so long? Boston and San Francisco embraced retail on their waterfronts a long time ago,” Poulakakos, told the New York Times.
Mr. Poulakakos, whose restaurants includes Ulysses, the Dead Rabbit and Harry’s Cafe and Steak,
“In a 25-year deal valued at $41 million, Mr. Poulakakos and Dermot will lease the space from the Battery Park City Authority, the state agency that is responsible for renovating the city-owned Pier A…The development team is also spending $20 million to refurbish the interior, adding tufted leather banquettes, a 128-foot-long bar, and a stained-glass ceiling fixture adorned with a large “A,” according to renderings,” the Times reported.
The project suffered a setback from Hurricane Sandy, which inflicted $4.3 million of damage when five feet of water poured into building.
Poulakakos and Dermot are also redeveloping Battery Maritime Building that projects into New York Harbor on the opposite side of Battery Park. Built in 1909 with details in the shape of anchors and life preservers, it is now the terminal for ferries to Governors Island.
The Beaux Arts building will open as a 61-room boutique hotel and a restaurant in 2015.