September 14, 2017 19:44 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Barry Diller scraps plan to turn rotting pier into a park

Barry Diller scraps plan to turn rotting pier into a park

Barry Diller pulled out of his plan to put $100 million into Pier 55 on the Hudson River and turn it into a magnificent park with green spaces and a large amphitheater.

A New York City billionaire with plans to put a $100 million park on a rotting Hudson River pier has pulled out of the project following a series of lawsuits. 

Barry Diller, who is worth $3.3 billion, wrote an email to supporters of the project to say that 'huge escalating costs' of the lawsuits made him decide to pull the plug, the New York Post reported.

Diller and his wife - the famous fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, promised the money in 2014. 

It would be built on a stretch of Hudson River waterfront that has been transformed over many years from a long-faded port district into a green string of popular recreational piers and esplanades known as the Hudson River Park. 

Barry Diller, who is worth $3.3 billion, wrote an email to supporters of the project dubbed 'Diller Island' to say that 'huge escalating costs' of the lawsuits against it made him decide to pull the plug, the New York Post reported
Diller and his wife Diane von Furstenberg promised the money in 2014. They are pictured together at the 2016 Met Gala

Barry Diller, who is worth $3.3 billion, wrote an email to supporters of the project dubbed 'Diller Island' to say that 'huge escalating costs' of the lawsuits against it made him decide to pull the plug, the New York Post reported. He is pictured left in May and right at the 2016 Met Gala with his wife Diane von Furstenberg

It would be built on a stretch of Hudson River waterfront that has been transformed over many years from a long-faded port district into a green string of popular recreational piers and esplanades known as the Hudson River Park

It would be built on a stretch of Hudson River waterfront that has been transformed over many years from a long-faded port district into a green string of popular recreational piers and esplanades known as the Hudson River Park

However, their pledge was met with multiple lawsuits by activists from the City Club, mainly based on environmental concerns over the pier's impact on aquatic life. 

There have also been complaints from some over the way  in which the project had been planned without broader public input.

'The way they've operated is like moving plants around their personal backyard,' said Emery, a civil rights attorney representing the nonprofit City Club of New York, a civic group fueling the contrarian position. 

The project would have been at Pier 55 - which is currently only occupied by rotting wood pilings

The project would have been at Pier 55 - which is currently only occupied by rotting wood pilings

An image of the plans of the new park show that it would have included green space and a large amphitheater. There have been complaints from some over the way in which the project had been planned without broader public input

An image of the plans of the new park show that it would have included green space and a large amphitheater. There have been complaints from some over the way in which the project had been planned without broader public input

In his email Diller wrote that the lawsuits would likely continue over the three years of the building process, and the costs from those would make the project not worth it. 

The project would have been at Pier 55 - which is currently only occupied by rotting wood pilings. 

Billionaire real estate titan Douglas Dirst was at the head of the opposing groups. He claims that the park, which critics have dubbed 'Diller Island' lacked public input.

'It was just not meant to be because of the secretiveness of the process and the whole sense that they were going to do it come hell or high water,' attorney Richard Emery, who supports the opponents, told the Post. 

He also expressed his shock in Diller's decision to pull out, saying that they were close to a settlement. 

Diller's pledge was met with multiple lawsuits by activists from the City Club, mainly based on environmental concerns over the pier's impact on aquatic life

Diller's pledge was met with multiple lawsuits by activists from the City Club, mainly based on environmental concerns over the pier's impact on aquatic life

Diller has said that he decided to pull out of the project, which is pictured above in a digital rendering, because he felt that agreeing to settle in the lawsuits would be giving his opponents a victory, and because he doesn't feel he's done anything wrong

Diller has said that he decided to pull out of the project, which is pictured above in a digital rendering, because he felt that agreeing to settle in the lawsuits would be giving his opponents a victory, and because he doesn't feel he's done anything wrong

In his email to supporters Diller said he couldn't agree to a settlement 'as I felt we had done nothing wrong.' 

'To give victory to these people was in itself wrong,' he explained. 

The president of the Hudson River Park Trust that was overseeing the project, Madelyn Wils, said there was public support for Diller Island.

'We are deeply saddened by this news,' Wils said in a statement about the project. 

'Not simply because this would've been one of the world's greatest piers, but because this was a project the community so resoundingly wanted, and that millions would one day enjoy.'  

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