Proposed site for an indoor pay-to play recreation center field house along Furman Street and Montague streets. Today the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation announced that the New York City Fieldhouse Inc. a not-for-profit corporation, offered to underwrite the design and construction costs of a year-round, multi-use recreation facility near Pier 5. The facility is estimated to cost $40 million and represents one of the largest donations ever made to a New York City park, according to Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. The building above, now used for storage, would be raised and replaced by another one story structure.
One of the major complaints about the Brooklyn Bridge Park plan has been the lack of indoor year-round recreation facilities for the community.
Joshua Rechnitz's family including his late grandparents, Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn, have had a long philanthropic history of giving in the city. These gifts include to a number of museums, and the renovation of the East 72nd Street playground in Central Park.
According to the press release the Fieldhouse is envisioned to include a 115,000 sq. ft. indoor recreation center with a 200-meter inclined track for cycling and a 22,000 sq. ft. infield for high school, collegiate, club-level and professional sporting events, such as basketball, tennis, track cycling, volleyball, and gymnastics. It also includes key amenities for the park such as a public boathouse, public restrooms, and maintenance and operations space for BBPC.
The facility must generate sufficient revenue to be self-sustaining long term.
The funds generated from activities and events will be used to cover the anticipated maintenance and operating expenses of the facility. Also, a nominal fee will be charged for floor use and event admissions that will be comparable to other New York City athletic facilities, such as the 168th Street Armory and the Park Slope Armory.
The donor has also agreed to underwrite any shortfalls in operating revenue incurred by the facility for the first 10 years. However, should excess revenue exist, the funds will be used to establish an Operating Reserve Fund equal to one year’s operating and maintenance expenses. The donor will provide funding for capital repair work that may be needed for the facility in the future by establishing a multi-million dollar Capital Reserve Fund.
— Geoffrey Croft
New York City Philanthropist Offers to Underwrite Year-Round Indoor Community Recreation Facility for Brooklyn Bridge Park
“Fieldhouse” Would Represent One of the Largest Donations Ever Made To a NYC Park
Today, at the board of directors meeting of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, Regina Myer, president of the park, announced that Joshua Rechnitz, founder and Chairman of the New York City Fieldhouse Inc. (Fieldhouse), a not-for-profit corporation, offered to underwrite the design and construction costs of a year-round, multi-use recreation facility near Pier 5. The facility is estimated to cost $40 million and represents one of the largest donations ever made to a New York City park.
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Brooklyn Bridge Park Chairman Robert K. Steel said "This generous offer represents an exciting and dynamic opportunity for Brooklyn Bridge Park and for all of the New Yorkers who have quickly come to love this community resource."
"Brooklyn Bridge Park is rapidly taking shape as one of the great new parks of New York City,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “This new field house will complement the romantic landscape and stunning vistas of the city's harbor and skyline with striking new facility for indoor sports and fitness, including track cycling and court sports, thanks to a remarkable private gift."
“This is a very exciting project and presenting our vision to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is an important milestone,” said New York City Fieldhouse founder and chairman, Joshua Rechnitz. “We want this to truly be a community endeavor that will add amenities for park users and provide a much needed all-weather sports facility.”
Regina Myer said “I am thrilled at the magnitude and generosity of this gift, which could invigorate the park in the winter months and provide much needed active recreation space for youth all over the borough on a year round basis. I look forward to working with community and recreation stakeholders to examine this proposal in full and evaluate how it can enhance Brooklyn Bridge Park’s legacy as an extraordinary civic destination.”
The proposed facility would be located primarily on Furman Street on a site now partially occupied by a cinderblock building used for storage and construction by BBPC and currently programmed for future operations and maintenance needs. The state-of-the-art indoor recreation, cycling, and community facility will be open for public use.
The Fieldhouse is envisioned to include a 115,000 sq. ft. indoor recreation center with a 200-meter inclined track for cycling and a 22,000 sq. ft. infield for high school, collegiate, club-level and professional sporting events, such as basketball, tennis, track cycling, volleyball, and gymnastics. It also includes key amenities for the park such as a public boathouse, public restrooms, and maintenance and operations space for BBPC.
NYC Fieldhouse, Inc. has selected Thomas Phifer and Partners to design the Fieldhouse. This established and highly regarded New York City-based firm has a portfolio of work that includes civic institutions, museums, academic campuses, private residences and corporate offices. Their work is distinguished by its clean lines, rich textures and responsiveness to site conditions.
Thomas Phifer, the founding principal, has received the AIA NY’s 2004 Medal of Honor and is a member of the National Academy of Design, among other honors.
The proposal will undergo extensive community consultation by staff and representatives of the not-for-profit starting with a briefing to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Advisory Council. Additionally, the proposal will be presented to neighborhood, educational, and athletic organizations for their input, as well as upcoming meetings of Brooklyn Community Boards 2 and 6.
Four public meetings in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo, and Red Hook, will be scheduled in order to further gather feedback and better assess community programming needs. Once concluded, the Fieldhouse will refine its proposal and the Board of the BBPC will determine whether to accept the offer and commence requisite land use and environmental reviews that will include public comment periods.
The New York City Fieldhouse, Inc. is a new not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthy and sustainable living in our communities through recreational and competitive sports with an emphasis on competitive track cycling. The New York City Fieldhouse, Inc. believes that New York City deserves both to benefit from the rapidly growing sport of competitive track cycling and to become a new world hub for the sport.
The New York City Fieldhouse, Inc. founder and chairman, Joshua P. Rechnitz, is a competitive amateur cyclist, track cycling enthusiast and philanthropist who is committed to establishing a world-class sports, cycling and recreation center in New York City. Mr. Rechnitz is following in the great philanthropic tradition of his late grandparents, Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn, who made significant contributions to cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, medical and academic endeavors at institutions like Rockefeller University and Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University and civic pursuits like the renovation of the East 72nd Street playground in Central Park.