Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights Association files motion to halt start of Pier 6 construction at start of busy park season

Developers Intend to Begin Work As Soon As July 19

July 5, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A woman rides her bike on the rolling path through Brooklyn Bridge Park. A development, Pierhouse, can be seen in the background. Photo by Mary Frost
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Even before the court decision on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s proposed Pier 6 towers, the developers for Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation have filed to begin work the day after what will likely be the final court date.

But the century-old neighborhood watchdog group Brooklyn Heights Association, alerted to the move, immediately countered.

On Sunday, June 30, the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) filed a motion in court seeking to halt the developers from starting construction of the two controversial towers right at the start of the park’s busy summer season. BHA wants the court to issue a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, the organization said. 

This move came after attorneys for BHA received word on June 28 that RAL Development Services and Oliver’s Realty Group intend to start construction at Pier 6 on or after July 19th.  The developers were required to send three weeks’ notice to BHA as part of a stipulation the parties entered into about a year ago, shortly after BHA filed a lawsuit challenging the development.

July 19 is one day after the next court appearance that Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings has scheduled concerning BHA’s Article 78 petition, which will take place at 2:30 p.m. on July 18 in Manhattan. This will likely be the final court appearance in the case, according to BHA. [UPDATE: This court date has been postponed. Stay tuned for further information.]

BHA said in an affidavit submitted to the court that construction is expected to commence “with at least two months of pile-driving activity in which the developers hammer more than 400 100-foot steel beams 90 feet into the ground to reach bedrock at both Parcels A and B. That activity will generate unbearable noise for neighbors and park visitors alike; it threatens essentially to shut down the playgrounds and park areas at Pier 6 and adjacent sections of the park during the height of the summer visitor season.”

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Last summer, Brooklyn Bridge Park said that the increasingly popular park welcomed 330,000 visitors every week.

Todd Castilow, a resident of 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park, said in an affidavit that given the time it took developers to drive four test  piles at each of the two sites, “we expect the high-decibel noise for the driving of the total of 414 piles at Parcels A and B will necessarily continue for months.” Castilow said he is a retired partner from Accenture where he led a segment of the company’s U.S. technology consulting practice. He said in his affidavit that his apartment does not face the planned development.

In June 2016, the park’s board voted to approve the joint venture of RAL and Oliver’s Realty Group to develop the two residential buildings at the Pier 6 site. The taller building is set to be 30 stories high, while the shorter building would be 16 stories.

BHA says the park’s approval of the project violates the law that governs development at the park. An agreement with the city requires that real estate development in the park be limited to only the amount necessary to fund the park’s financial needs.

Attorneys for BHA argue that real estate taxes have increased dramatically, thus bringing in more income than the park projected, and claim that the park corporation hadn’t made a case showing financial need for the Pier 6 development.

Attorneys representing the park said that the park corporation board had determined that income from the entire Pier 6 development is needed to fund the park.

A park spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday, “The proposed development at Pier 6 will provide essential long-term funding for the park, as well as needed affordable housing and union construction jobs.  We look forward to next steps in the process.”


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