It seems like every month the balance of power shifts at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with those looking to build condos and a hotel inside its boundaries maintaining that there’s no other way to pay its $16 million annual operating costs, and local politicos and community groups offering alternative sources of funds, most notably the conversion of the nearby Watchtower buildings into condos. Well it turns out the city is into that idea, and though one condo building will definitely get built, a couple more might not.
As the Times and Brooklyn Paper report, the Bloomberg administration has agreed to a deal whereby tax revenue from the 30 currently tax-exempt buildings owned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society will go to the park if an when those buildings are sold—the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ operations are in the midst of moving upstate.
In exchange for the tax deal, State Senator Daniel Squadron (D—Brooklyn Heights) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D—Carroll Gardens) have renounced their plans to veto a decision to construct condo buildings within the park’s boundaries on John Street and along Furman Street. As part of the deal, the John Street building on the waterfront just east of the Manhattan Bridge will be cut from 170 to 130 feet, and two buildings including luxury condos and a hotel on Furman Street near Pier 6 will be reduced from their planned size, or perhaps scrapped altogether if the Watchtower buildings sell well.
But, if housing in those big buildings peppered between DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn and several bridge onramps doesn’t sell by January 1, 2014, a request for proposals to build condos on Furman Street will be released. As the Times specifies, the more square feet of the Watchtower buildings are converted to residential use (ie. condos) and sold, the fewer square feet of new condos will be built down the hill inside the park. No word yet on the timeline for that new condo building at John Street and Pearl Place, but prospective buyers should bear in mind that the Abominable Grass Man lives right next-door.
(Curbed, Brooklyn Heights Blog; Photo: NYPL)