After opposition grew last December, a committee was formed in February to find alternatives (including selling naming rights) to constructing a set of 20- to 30-story condos and a luxury hotel inside Brooklyn Bridge Park to generate funds to cover the fancy park-in-progress’s hefty $16 million annual maintenance budget, but alternative revenue sources seemed insufficient. Now the head of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is lobbying for the condos.
According to the Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster told a crowd of about 100 at a hearing last week that the plan to build new condo buildings within the park at a few points between its south and north tips at Atlantic Avenue and Pearl Street—which was part of the original park project when an agreement between the city and state was struck for its expansion back in 2002—is the best way to pay for the $350 million waterfront green space. “Limited residential development actually privatizes the park less,” Webster said, countering various proposals to charge a residential tax and local businesses for membership in a business improvement district, for use of various services and amenities within the park, naming rights, concessions and more.
She also brought out her former counterpart at the Prospect Park Alliance, Tupper Thomas, who retired from her position with the Prospect Park group in January. She concurred: “[Housing is] a great mechanism to maintain the park in the future.”
Meanwhile, members of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund maintain that committee estimates that projected not even half of the park’s annual maintenance budget could be raised through these alternative methods low-balled their figures to help justify the housing option. In other words, this dispute is far from over—just wait until all those wealthy Brooklyn Heights co-op residents realize that their harbor views would be completely ruined when the condos go up.
Whose views will be ruined? No one in Brooklyn Heights, as the proposed new buildings are not positioned so that they interfere with the view plane from the Promenade, with the possible minor exception of the buildings proposed for the landward side of Pier 1, which may block a small part of the view of the East River north of the Heights, which view was opened up when the old cold storage warehouses that previously stood there were razed (the proposed new buildings won’t be as tall as the warehouses, and therefore won’t block as much view).
I’m a Brooklyn Heights resident and am not taking a position on the issue of housing as a means of supporting the Park, but I think it’s important that you get your facts straight.
I’m pretty sure the phrase “Brooklyn Heights co-op residents” referred to residents of co-ops in Brooklyn Heights–I assume the writer meant those who live in higher-floor apartments that have nice harbor views, which would be not so nice with tall condos. I don’t think the writer meant “Brooklyn Heights co-op residents” to refer to anyone who lives in Brooklyn Heights when they’re standing on the promenade.
This plan for new Condos and a hotel seems like a developers dream and a community’s nightmare. Parks are supposed to enhance the quality of life not add to the density and destroy harbor views for residents in a landmarked community. Ms. Webster certainly is NOT advocating for the community of Brooklyn Heights when she is “lobbying” for this unwanted housing. Did the surrounding (and most impacted) community get a chance to vote on this housing scheme before it was put into place? I think not.