Friday, June 10, 2011

More Housing Likely For Brooklyn Bridge Park- Report

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Phase One, July 11. 2010. The city is still refusing to take responsibility to pay for the maintenance and operation of the park according to a final draft study released last night. (Photo: © Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) click on image to enlarge


If there was any doubt left – all roads now point to the city moving forward with plans to build more controversial high-rise condos at Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to the Brooklyn Blog.

The findings in a final draft of a city-commissioned study by Bay Area Economics released earlier this evening contend there isn’t enough alternative funding opportunities to stop at least some of the new housing set for John Street in DUMBO and by Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights from being built.

Both developments are slated to bring in $8 million in revenues to help finance the park’s anticipated $16.1 million maintenance budget. The 85-acre park project is being built in segments.

The findings are no shock. They are similar to what BAE’s preliminary report released in February showed: that up to $7 million in annual revenues could be raised through alternatives like selling naming rights and adding additional paid parking spots.

However, $4 million of the $7 million is through a plan to create a Park Improvement District that would raise funds through an additional tax on property and business owners near the park. A PID would need to be approved by the community affected, but such support is dramatically lacking.

Critics say the findings are a sham to push an agenda to build more housing in the park.

Many questioned why the city didn’t study a popular plan to tap into the Jehovah Witnesses’ dozens of properties in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, convert them into luxury condos and put tax revenues from the sales toward the parks maintenance costs.

BAE and city officials have said it was because the Witnesses aren’t warm to moving fast enough on the plan to meet construction timetables at the park.

But state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) says the city didn’t try hard enough to study the plan.

He said the report “calls the city’s commitment to complete” the 85-acre park project “into question.”

City officials will now consider what to do with the findings during a June 14 meeting at the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Heights branch, 280 Cadman Plaza West.

Under a 2010 agreement that allowed the city to take control of the park from the state, the city has to explore alternate revenue sources to the luxury condos planned.

Also, under the deal, the city can’t pursue the John Street housing before next month or Pier 6 condos before July 2013. And – most importantly -- both Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman hold veto power over the construction of housing at those sites.

When asked if he would ever block housing with his veto, Squadron said it’s an option that remains on the table.

Judi Francis, who heads a grass-roots group fighting to keep housing out of the park, ripped Mayor Bloomberg for “denying us a true park” by pushing luxury condos.

Brooklyn Bridge Park has been a political hot potato since project planners announced in December 2004 that more than 1,200 luxury condos would have to be included to raise enough money to offset the park's now-estimated $16.1 million annual maintenance costs.

Only one high-rise offering 440 luxury units at Pier 5 has been built; another 780 units are on hold because of the slumping economy.

Read More:

The Brooklyn Blog - New York Post - June 9 2011 - By Rich Calder

A Walk In The Park - April 22, 2011

1 comment:

  1. There are many ways to pay for Brooklyn Bridge Park including tax increment financing from existing real estate adjacent to the park (not building lux condos inside a park's borders), a real estate transaction fee (like what is used by many communities throughout the nation to protect open space from the vagaries of the political process), packaging a deal with the soon to depart Jehovah Witnesses who are selling over 1 million sq feet of possible residential property immediately adjacent to the park, and a myriad of for-pay events/film shoots/parking options. All of these would be publicly accessible and park friendly options that provide the most park land for the most money and for the most access for all. But the Nayor has decided two things: 1. Brooklynites don't deserve a park - he wants to build high rises on the waterfront for the wealthy, and 2. that the city should no longer support public parks for the public with public funding. It is a cynical public policy that says we can no longer afford our public parks. Look what parks have already done for real estate values (and increased tax base for the city) - Highline has doubled real estate values for surrounding property owners; the Hudson River Park increased property values by 20% (this contributes to the city's tax base for the good of all!). Condos inside our public parks are bad public policy and unless stopped in Brooklyn Bridge Park, we face the demise of all public park lands for the public good in the future. Write to Mayor Bloomberg asking him to study the many solutions that the community has already presented to him.