Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brooklyn Bridge Park Officials Refuse To Reveal Housing Selection Committee Members

Two Trees ManagementToll BrothersStarwood Capital GroupSDS Leeser ArchitectsRAL DevelopmentExtell DevelopmentDermot

Seven developers are vying to build Brooklyn Bridge Park's 180 luxury condo units and a ten story, 225 room hotel but last night park officials refused to reveal who is making that decision. Residents and Councilman Steve Levin demanded to know who is on the housing selection committee. Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation's Regina Myer, and David Lowin refused to reveal the names of who is going to choose the developer.

“We’re not releasing their names,” said Regina Myer, president of the park corporation.

Officials also refused to extend the short comment period which is due on December 22nd.


Two Trees ManagementToll BrothersStarwood Capital GroupSDS Leeser ArchitectsRAL DevelopmentExtell DevelopmentDermot
Toll Brothers

Residents and local pols are demanding that the city give them more time to digest designs for a controversial hotel, retail, and luxury condos project inside Brooklyn Bridge Park before it moves ahead with the massive project, but the city shot them down, saying it plans to move quickly, and will have a committee of unnamed officials choose a developer behind closed doors before spring, according to The Brooklyn Paper .

On Tuesday night at Borough Hall, park officials revealed the proposals for a mixed-use complex to rise on Pier 1 along Furman Street near Old Fulton Street — prime space inside the park that, they say, must be developed to generate revenue for the park’s $16-million annual maintenance budget.

But community members were fuming over a short public comment period, which ends on Dec. 22, claiming they need at least another 30 days to determine the best plan. Residents also slammed the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation for refusing to reveal who will make the final decision.

“These parcels are at the very center of the park,” said Tony Manheim, a member of the park’s powerless community advisory council. “To turn it over to private development without full and adequate consideration is a foolhardy maneuver.”

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Brooklyn Heights), state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Cobble Hill) also requested the city extend the deadline for public review, but park officials denied their request, claiming they’ve worked too hard to slow the process down.

“We’ve been working long hours and expect to … move this as fast as we can,” said David Lowin of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the quasi-government agency that is overseeing the park. “We need to move this project forward so that it benefits the public and the park.”

Residents and pols also demanded to know who was going to choose the developer.

“Who is on the selection committee? And why is a community member not going to be appointed?” Levin asked.

But tight-lipped park officials wouldn’t budge, claiming that the secret panelists would come from many city agencies.

“We’re not releasing their names,” said Regina Myer, president of the park corporation.

Some residents were also frustrated when park officials didn’t address concerns over increased traffic and the actual dimensions of the proposed buildings.

“It’s very difficult to respond responsibly to these schemes without having more information,” said Katrin Adam, a member of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association.

Park officials also wouldn’t say whether a new traffic study would be conducted after claims that Fulton Ferry has become more congested since Furman Street became a two way thoroughfare this past summer, and refused to consider allowing the public to see actual models some architects prepared.

Such acts of secrecy concerned residents, some of whom came up with their own ideas regarding what will ultimately be built.

“Is there anyone here who now doubts that this development turns the park into a mall?” said Roy Sloane, member of the park’s community advisory council.

Seven big-time developers including Toll Brothers, RAL Companies, and Two Trees Management are vying to build luxury hotel and residential complex along Furman Street, just south of a park entrance at the foot of Old Fulton Street.

Developers would build a 170- to 225-room hotel, a 150- to 180-unit residential building, a restaurant, and at least 300 parking spaces, according to city’s plan. The developer would receive a 98-year lease with the city for the use of the park land and construction could begin in 2013.

The city first announced it was seeking developers for the two-parcel site last August.

The land once contained the Cold Storage Warehouses, a set of 19th-century buildings that the city demolished last year in anticipation of development.

The Pier 1 development is one of the controversial elements of the park’s unique funding arrangement — which stems from a 2002 agreement that requires the $350-million green space and development to raise its own maintenance budget so it would not become a drain on city and state coffers.

As part of that funding plan, the city will collect ground rent and property taxes earmarked for the 85-acre green space from Pier 1 and future high-rises at John Street in DUMBO and the southern leg of the park at Pier 6.

The seven developers for Pier 1 include:

• The Dermot Company proposed a cantilevered Hyatt hotel and residential building made of aluminum panels — and left one lot open for St. Ann’s Warehouse, a theater that’s being booted from its DUMBO home next year.

• Extell Development’s plans for a Westin hotel and three other residential buildings would be a pattern of glass, zinc, wood and terra cotta and provide rooftop green spaces. One of the residences wraps around a four-story parking garage.

• RAL Companies wants to build a glass and concrete Le Meridien hotel with lower-level retail space and a highly-reflective glass residential complex to capture the Manhattan skyline.

• SDS would create a futuristic all-glass building with a hotel on the tops floors. Residential units below would wrap around a glass atrium with a 70-foot-high escalator to the hotel, gym, swimming pool and green space.

• Starwood Capital Group’s two buildings would have copper fins lining the facades that move with the wind to create a kinetic sculpture. A hotel would be in the lower floors of a larger building with apartments above it.

• Toll Brothers is proposing a glass, limestone and mahogany tiered complex that would include a Dream Hotel by Hampshire Hotels, condos and ground-floor retail.

• Two Trees Management’s futuristic, curvilinear building creates pockets of park space, giant windows and green, living patches of facade. The DUMBO-based firm didn’t announce a hotel partner.

Read More:

The Brooklyn Paper - November 23, 2011 - By Kate Briquelet

The Brooklyn Paper - November 23, 2011 - By Kate Briquelet

Seven developers vying to build Brooklyn Bridge Park condos and hotel

New York Post - November 22, 2011 - By Rich Calder

A Walk In The Park - October 7, 2011

A Walk In The Park - August 12, 2011

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