But the cost ballooned to more than $250 million today from $35 million six years ago because of the complexity of the design and the delays caused by legal wrangling over the pierâs placement in a protected estuary, among other issues.
âBecause of the huge escalating costs and the fact it would have been a continuing controversy over the next three years I decided it was no longer viable for us to proceed,â Mr. Diller said in an interview, appearing visibly distressed about dropping a project he had taken to heart.
Mr. Dillerâs reversal caught everyone by surprise. Richard Emery, a lawyer for the opponents, said he was âshockedâ by Mr. Dillerâs decision, âbecause I thought we were close to a solution.â But he was also elated.
âItâs a great decision,â Mr. Emery said. âIt shows great respect for the estuary. It preserves the estuary as the legislature intended. I believe he came to believe he was being manipulated by the trust as much as the public was.â
But that was not the sentiment of the pierâs supporters, who included the local community board, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer.
Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, said in a statement that she was âdeeply saddenedâ by Mr. Dillerâs decision, ânot simply because this wouldâve been one of the worldâs greatest piers, but because this was a project the community so resoundingly wanted, and that millions would one day enjoy.â
Senator Schumer had a sharper-edged response. âFor such a small group of people to hold up a public and philanthropic project that would benefit so many is just awful,â Mr. Schumer said.
The City Club has few members and was almost dead just a few years ago. It was revived by a group of activists to fight zoning changes under the Bloomberg administration.
The pier would have been…