Thursday, February 21, 2013

Union Fight Over Building New Luxury Hotel And Condos In Brooklyn Bridge Park

 Hotel and Motel Trade Council members protest
Hotel and Motel Trade Council members protest a new luxury hotel and condo tower to be built by Starwood Capital Group and Toll Brothers in Brooklyn Bridge Park because it will likely not be built or run by union workers. 

For years community and park advocates have fought to prevent housing developments from being built inside the park.


A new luxury hotel and condo tower at the gleaming Brooklyn Bridge Park will likely not be built or run by union workers, according to the New York Daily News.  

The labor organizations representing hotel staffers and construction workers say they have been stonewalled by the developers selected for the controversial Pier 1 complex--Toll Brothers City Living and Starwood Capital Group.

At stake are an estimated 210 permanent jobs and 300 construction jobs at the waterfront park. 

“This is a luxury hotel on prime public land,” said Josh Gold, political director for the hotel trades council.

"We want to make sure that the jobs that are created are good jobs with real benefits that keep New Yorkers in the middle class.”  

Last year, there were seven bids for the project from different developers, according to records. Five of those proposals would likely have included using union workers, union officials said.  Park officials promised to give preference to developers with a good labor history. 

“I think we would be setting a terrible precedent to allow a project like this, which is on public land, to not include really basic job protections for employees who work there on the site,” said City Councilman Steve Levin (D-Greenpoint).  

Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer said talks with the developer are ongoing.   

Rendering of the Toll Brothers/Starwood Capital Group's controversial 159-apartment, 200-room hotel project  to be built in Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

The city's elected officials refuse to allocate the necessary funds required to maintain the park so the Bloomberg administration launched a funding scheme they say will raise $3.3 million towards the park's annual maintenance budget they claim is a massive $16 million. 

“We've been working with Starwood on this item,” she told the park's board at a Wednesday meeting near Pier 1.

“Starwood is willing to enter negotiations. The issue is timing,” she said, noting the building design has not been finalized. 

Union officials scoffed at that excuse, pointing out that they already have initial labor agreements with the developer at Willets Point and for a potential new soccer stadium in Queens. 

The hotel and condo development are set to open in fall 2015.

Both developers declined to comment. 

At issue is a state law passed in 2009. 

The Public Authority Reform Act requires developers on public land sign a "labor peace" agreement, which typically leads to union workers being hired. Union officials and pols say that law applies to the parks project too. 

Brooklyn Bridge officials insist the law doesn’t apply to the park because of its unique financing situation. The hotel and condo were added to the glitzy new waterfront park with killer views of Manhattan as part of a 2002 agreement with city and state pols as a way to generate cash. 

Maintaining the 85-acre park and restoring its five old piers is expected to cost $16 million annually, with the development projected to provide $3.3 million annually.   

Read More:

New luxury hotel and condo at the gleaming Brooklyn Bridge Park on path
to be built by non-union labor- More than 500 jobs at stake  
New York Daily News -  February 20, 2013  - By Reuven Blau 

1 comment:

  1. Where are the park-workers union? They were the first to lose out to this private "park" development project. There are no union jobs in this in-name-only - park place. This is the Bloomberg doctrine - kill unions. This is not a public park. An "entity" runs it and is accountable to no one. Ask Daniel Squadron the state senator who allowed private housing inside this park what he thinks about killing unions. Isn't he hoping to be Public Advocate. He is just another Bloomberg wannabe.