It is one of the largest privately funded parks in the country, and it will soon be off Manhattan’s western shore.
On Monday, billionaire businessman Barry Diller ; his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg ; and the Hudson River Park Trust are expected to announce the creation of a $130 million, 2.7-acre pier, public park and performance space near New York’s Meatpacking District.
Construction of the park, financed primarily through the couple’s private foundation, will begin in 2016 and include the demolition of the old Pier 54, which has been unused for years. The new pier will be called Pier55, and Mr. Diller has created an independent foundation that will build, operate and provide cultural programming for it in cooperation with the Hudson River Park Trust.
The city is providing $17 million, money that was allocated for the project under the Bloomberg administration and reaffirmed by Mayor Bill de Blasio . But the vast majority of the financing, more than $100 million, comes from Mr. Diller, the 72-year-old chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, a New York-based media company. New York state isn’t contributing funds to the park but will provide $18 million for construction of an esplanade leading into it.
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Diller said that when he was initially approached, the idea for the park was fairly prosaic—“a flat pier with some trees on it.”
His vision for the pier was more ambitious. “After all, you’re doing something kind of insane,” he said. “You’re building a park on the water.”
Mr. Diller tapped Thomas Heatherwick, a British artist, designer and architect known for creations such as the Olympic caldron at the 2012 London Games. For the New York project, he took inspiration from remnants of old piers that look like “dark fingers poking out of the water,” Mr. Heatherwick said.
The park will be composed of 264 undulating cast-concrete supports in 25 to 30 different sizes and arranged like colonnades rising from the water. Two gangplanks will connect the pier to entrances near West 13th and West 14th streets. The pier will include wandering paths, an open-air amphitheater and a plaza that can be used for performances.