Cobble Hill

Latest LICH high-rise revealed; Joins growing wall of towers along Brooklyn waterfront

January 24, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A rain-spattered rendering of 5 River Park, the 15 story tower being developed by Fortis Property Group on the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) campus in Cobble Hill, has been posted at the construction site at 347 Henry St.  Eagle photo by Mary Frost
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A rendering of the latest development in the wall of high-rises spreading across the western Brooklyn waterfront has been posted at a construction site at 347 Henry St. (between Pacific and Amity streets).

Called 5 River Park, the 15 story tower is part of the multiple-site River Park megaproject being developed by Fortis Property Group on the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) campus in Cobble Hill.

The developers call the development a “new neighborhood,” but the project was met with intense opposition by Cobble Hill residents and Brooklyn officials, who called it out of scale with the traditional low-rise district. Lawsuits seeking to keep LICH open spanned several years.

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According to the River Park website, 5 River Park will contain 25 studios, one-to-four bedroom condo units and penthouses, and is set to be completed in 2019. The architect is Romines Architecture PLLC.

The 5 River Park building is part of Phase 1 of the LICH project. Other Phase 1 towers underway include the 15-story 1 River Park (at 350 Hicks St., the site of the former LICH parking garage), the 28-story 2 River Park (at 339 Hicks St.) and the converted Polhemus building and townhouses.

Phase II will include 3 and 4 River Park. These will be located between Hicks and Henry streets at Amity Street.

Rapidly transforming waterfront

The LICH development is just a stone’s throw away from another hotly disputed waterfront project — two towers rising at Pier 6 at the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Heights Association has sued the city, the park and the developers on the grounds that the park does not need more revenue from another private development. A judge has not yet ruled on the case.

Another disputed development has risen at the northern end of the park. A community group sued the park, city and developers about the Pierhouse hotel/residential complex that ended up 30 feet higher than originally agreed upon. (The group lost their case on the grounds that they filed too late.)

These projects, along with the development of Williamsburg and Greenpoint and the plans for Gowanus, are rapidly transforming the Brooklyn waterfront into a series of residential towers.

Alarmed officials in Sunset Park and Red Hook want to slam on the breaks before their neighborhoods are overtaken.

In April, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook), speaking at a conference dubbed “Moving Goods and People To, From and Along the Brooklyn Waterfront,” was adamant about preserving the Red Hook Container Terminal and South Brooklyn Marine Terminal from development.

“There is nothing better to protect manufacturing zones than by saying no to residential and saying no to things that are encroaching already on our community,” Menchaca said at the conference. “Today, Red Hook and Sunset Park are not — and I repeat — are not on the path of Williamsburg and other communities that have seen this flip overnight.”

He added, “We’ve all seen the plans for the shiny residential towers that would plop right on today’s maritime facilities in Red Hook. I think you’ve seen the [engineering firm] AECOM plans.”

He added, “Their designation of Red Hook and Sunset Park as the ‘next hot thing’ is poison to our work to preserving these manufacturing entities and zoning. Those fantasy renderings that they spent a lot of money on getting them to your eyeballs, they’re million-dollar condos and they’re proposing an idea that they’re coming soon, that they’re on their way. This is the idea that we need to fight back.”

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