Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park officials: Full speed ahead on Pier 6 tower plan

October 17, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Permits were filed on Saturday for two towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which can be seen above, center and left.   Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services - Oliver's Realty Group
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On Friday, ODA Architecture filed plans for two towers on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The towers, which have generated opposition among local residents and area officials, are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA).

According to documents filed with the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB), the taller building, at 50 Bridge Park Dr., is set to be 315 ft. high, or 30 stories, with 126 dwelling units. The design plans for this tower include a bicycle storage room, exercise rooms, a dog washing room, conference room and kids’ room. A tenants’ lounge and residents’ support area are listed for the 29th floor. All 274,550 sq. ft. of the building will be residential.

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The shorter building, at 15 Bridge Park Dr., is described as 155 ft. high, or 16 stories, with 140 dwelling units (133,366 sq. ft.) plus commercial space (4,181 sq. ft.). It also includes an exercise room, studio and playroom, and a tenants’ lounge on the 15th floor.

The towers are being developed by RAL Development and Oliver’s Realty Group.

Previously dscussed community facilities, such as a preschool, are not listed in the plans filed with DOB.

“As anticipated when it was approved last June, the Pier 6 project is moving ahead toward construction,” Belinda Cape, VP of Strategic Partnerships for Brooklyn Bridge Park, told the Brooklyn Eagle.

She continued, “As the final component of our funding model, Pier 6 will ensure the park’s long-term financial stability and deliver union jobs and sorely needed affordable housing in the process. It’s a project we’re proud of and we look forward to starting construction.”

In a statement late Tuesday, BHA said, “The submission of plans by the developers of the Pier 6 towers is a preliminary step and has no bearing on the lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association to block the towers’ construction. The BHA’s lawsuit remains active.”

BHA’s statement continued, “The parties to the lawsuit are submitting legal briefs and affidavits addressing the several challenges that the BHA has made to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Board’s approval, earlier this summer, of the Pier 6 development. We expect that the submission of these documents will be completed in early November and the court will hear arguments from the parties on November 10.”

The case seeking to halt the development is currently in the court of Justice Lucy Billings in Manhattan. The court is mulling a request by the park to change the venue of the lawsuit from Manhattan to Brooklyn, however. If transferred to Brooklyn, the city will seek to have the case heard by state Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel, who has ruled favorably to the park in several prior actions.

BHA says the park’s approval of the Pier 6 project violates the law that governs development at the Park — the park’s General Project Plan — and would add to the overcrowding of local schools and other infrastructure. (For a complete description of the case, read “Brooklyn Bridge Park seeks to move Pier 6 lawsuit from Manhattan to Brooklyn court.”)

Affordable housing, a priority of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s, is included in the project. BHA contends this would not contribute to the maintenance of the park, a requirement of the GPP. The park requested last year that Empire State Development Corp. (ESD) approve a modification to the GPP which would allow development that was not financially necessary.

After ESD did not affirm that modification, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who chairs the BBPC board, said that the city intended to move ahead with the project “with or without the state.” A letter later released by ESD Chair Howard Zemsky appeared to give ESD’s blessing to the project. The letter, however, sidestepped the legality of moving forward with the project without the modification of the GPP to allow development that is financially unnecessary.

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Story updated on Oct. 18 with a statement from BHA.


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