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Carter's View

The first of two public hearings on alternatives to housing in the 85-acre waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park took place lasts night at Long Island College Hospital, according to an article today at

In 2002, New York State and City signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which requires that the Brooklyn Bridge Park "be financially self sufficient with annual operation and maintenance expenses funded by revenue generated from within the project."

To accomplish this, five sites within the park were identified for development, although this approach met with some community opposition.

In March 2010, State Senator Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman convinced the city to sign another Memorandum Of Understanding which prompted the formation of a Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing (SHA.) and the scheduling of two public hearings.

In front of Regina Myer, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, representatives of NY State Assemblywoman Joan Millman and State Senator Squadron, and the Mayor's office, some speakers supported the concept of new housing in the park subsidizing its maintenance, but the article said that most were "strongly opposed to residential luxury condos of 15 to 31 stories in the park, arguing that it should be a "private enclave with tastefully arranged landscaping around it."

Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin spoke out against the housing.

According to an article in yesterday's Brooklyn Daily Eagle by Dennis Holt, "about five years ago, the decision was made to choose three different sites in the park to build market-rate housing to be the source of revenues for the park's operation."

When the city acquired ownership rights for the entire park site, the park corporation agreed to conduct one more review to determine whether there were practical alternatives to housing for the financing and the Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing.

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle article, "a consultant, Bay Area Economics Consulting, has been hired to manage that review" and "the public part of the process began Tuesday night, Nov. 30, with a meeting at Long Island College Hospital where people could voice their opinions on the subject. A second meeting will be held on Thursday, Dec. 9, at St. Francis College.... By mid-February, a draft report will be prepared and made public. There will be a 60-day comment period, and during this time frame another public hearing will be held. The SAH will make a final recommendation and submit it to the park board of directors."

"If housing is reconfirmed as the financing source, the first residential development will be in the DUMBO part of the park, the so-called John Street site. Action on this project can't start until July 1, 2011. If it is approved, it is expected to take about two years to complete. Then, a decision could be made on or before July 1, 2013, whether to build one or both of the housing units on Pier 6 at the other end of the park. No such schedules have yet been set for the hotel and the related residential units planned for Pier 1, nor for when Request for Proposals will be sent out for the Empire Stores' 19th century warehouses."

Also handed out at Tuesday's meeting, according to the article, were summaries of the housing planned for the three sites. The John Street building would be 170 feet tall and 16 stories high with 130 units. One of the two Pier 6 sites would be 315 feet tall and 31 stories high with 290 units; the other one would be 155 feet tall and 15 stories high with 140 units. The Pier 1 hotel would be 100 feet tall with nine or 10 stories and 175 rooms. Its residential portion would be 45 feet tall, four stories and 180 units.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.