Brooklyn Heights

Judge rules against Brooklyn Heights Association on Pier 6 development

Two towers can continue to go up in Brooklyn Bridge Park

February 16, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Heights Association lost its case against two towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services / Oliver’s Realty Group
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On Thursday, Justice Carmen Victoria St. George of the state Supreme Court denied the Brooklyn Heights Association’s (BHA) petition against a controversial two-tower development on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Judge St. George dismissed the case in its entirety, allowing the construction of the residential towers to continue.

In a release, BHA said, “The BHA is disappointed that the Court’s decision dismisses all the claims in the BHA’s petition challenging the development of the two large residential towers at Pier 6.”

BHA said that the decision “reveals that the court applied the wrong legal standard when it rejected the petition’s central claim that the residential development violates the requirements of the General Project Plan (‘GPP’), and made other errors as well.”

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Brooklyn Bridge Park, however, said it was pleased with the outcome.

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision, which ensures that a public investment enjoyed by millions and envied in cities across the globe will thrive long into the future,” Eric Landau, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, said in a statement.

Landau added, “In addition to critical long-term funding for Brooklyn Bridge Park guaranteed by today’s decision, the Pier 6 project will also provide much-needed affordable housing and union construction jobs. With the park’s financial security now in place, we look forward to continuing to work with the community and all park users as we move closer to completion of this 85-acre gem.”

Mayor Backed Pier 6

In June 2016, the park’s board voted to approve the joint venture of RAL and Oliver’s Realty Group as developers. Throughout the court proceedings, the developers continued to work on the towers, taking a risk that they might have to tear them down if BHA won the case.

A 28-story tower consisting of market-rate condos is expected to top out in April; a 14-story building, which will contain 80 percent affordable housing, topped out last week.

Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed for the development’s affordable housing component through his proxy on the park’s board, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. Affordable housing is a priority of his administration.

BHA charged, however, that the board’s approval of the project violated the law that governs development at the park. An agreement with the city, codified in the General Project Plan (GPP), says “the intention [of the developments] being to build only what is necessary to support annual maintenance and operations.”

Justice St. George Encouraged a Settlement

The Manhattan courtroom of Justice St. George was consistently packed over the course of four hearings, the final one in November. St. George took the case over in August from Justice Lucy Billings, who was reassigned to oversee asbestos cases.

While overhearing oral arguments at the Civil Branch in Manhattan, St. George tried more than once to encourage the adversaries to reach a settlement. But BHA, the park and the towers’ developers chose to fight on.

BHA said on Friday that while it “greatly appreciates” the time and effort the court devoted to its claims, it is “frustrated by an outcome that permits the state and city to flout the commitments they made repeatedly to the community that they would only permit private real estate development at Pier 6 if, and to the extent, the development were needed to serve the park’s fiscal purposes.

“There is no question that the towers now rising at Pier 6 far exceed the Park’s fiscal needs,” BHA said.

BHA said it is considering its next steps “in its long-term effort to ensure that the BBPC complies with its legal obligations.”

 BHA filed suit against the Empire State Development Corporation (EDC), the City of New York, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) and RAL Development Services.

 Check back for update.


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