Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park: ‘Let’s get facts straight on Pier 6’

July 29, 2015 Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation
Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services-Oliver's Realty Group
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On Thursday, the Empire State Development Corporation will hold a hearing on proposed changes to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s General Project Plan (GPP). The park operates under a mandate that requires development sites to pay for its maintenance. Development has been permitted at Pier 6 for more than a decade and now the park has worked to make this project more responsive to community needs and concerns. Namely, include permanently affordable middle class housing, pre-kindergarten space, 10,000 square feet of new parkland – and, as always planned, critical long-term funding for the entire park. The GPP, the park’s governing document, must be modified to allow for those changes. That modification is the subject of Thursday’s hearing.

After an open and competitive process, park management has negotiated a conditional contract with the winning bidder. This contract will not go into effect unless the GPP modification has been approved and the contract is then approved by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation board. The park announced the terms of the conditional agreement to ensure a more informed public discussion. It’s our hope that this fact sheet will do the same.

The Pier 6 development sites are not now – and never were – parkland, and the project would not take away park space. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s overall project footprint contains sites designated for parkland and sites designated for development to fund that parkland. The Pier 6 site’s square footage represents 0.5% of the overall BBP footprint, and the revenue generated from that space will allow the park to thrive.

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The Pier 6 development is essential to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s longterm financial stability. BBP’s 50-year financial projections show that it will run out of money in about 10 years without additional revenue from the Pier 6 site. These projections have been shared widely and can be found on the park’s website. It’s very simple: in order to provide the public with parkland long into the future, the Pier 6 project must be built.

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The park requires funding for extensive marine repairs – right now. The park is built on 13,000 wooden piles that are in various stages of deterioration and in need of repair. The Pier 6 development will provide essential funding for proactive marine infrastructure repairs. Risk is not an option in responsible municipal park management.

Brooklyn Bridge Park has successfully minimized development. The park and adjoining development sites have been specifically designed to maximize the area used as park space and minimize development footprints. The park has reduced development to 10 percent of the overall project footprint, down from the approved 20 percent. And it has reduced the number of approved housing units from 1,240 to 924, including Pier 6.

There is no evidence that the Pier 6 project would cause significant adverse environmental impact on the surrounding community – and no evidence that further study would prove otherwise. A Technical Memorandum prepared in November 2014 in accordance with State law assessed potential environmental impacts of the Pier 6 project. This report, which incorporated updated data, determined that the Pier 6 project would not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts that were not previously identified and studied, including on school overcrowding. Therefore, in accordance with State law, no supplemental environmental impact statement is required.

Post-Superstorm Sandy resiliency measures are a requirement of the Pier 6 development. In a post-Sandy world, all of the park’s developments incorporate resiliency measures in order to withstand extreme weather, and all adhere to the amended New York City building codes and updated FEMA flood maps.

The proposed development directly responds to community concerns. The park’s recommended proposal reduces the height of each building by three stories from what the original request for proposals allowed, and reduces the number of residential units by 20 percent. The project would provide approximately 117 units of affordable housing, a 75-seat pre-K facility, a 1,500-square-foot community facility, additional parkland and public restrooms. The project would provide approximately 500 union construction jobs.

We encourage the public to visit brooklynbridgepark.org to read more about the proposed GPP modification and the recommended development.


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