Brooklyn Broadside: A Look at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Future

By Dennis Holt

BROOKLYN — Unless one has to actually construct Brooklyn Bridge Park, like planner Regina Myer and her people, one can take the luxury of sitting back and contemplating what is left to build — not only the landscaped area of the park but also the parts that will produce revenues and amenities.

This luxury was prompted by Tuesday night’s meeting at Borough Hall, where Brooklyn Bridge Park’s managers revealed the seven responses they received on the Request For Proposal (RFP) for a hotel and some housing on Pier 1.

These presentations only involved the elements people can see from the outside. Costs and schedules were not revealed.

Some of the renderings were spectacular and would be of great value as an addition to the park’s presence and architecture. Now the only thing that has to be done is to pick one and get it built.

Most of the challenges related to the fixed parameters for height and width. Within these parameters there is room for variation in the number of hotel rooms, which can range from 170 to 225, and the number of housing units, which can range from 150 to 180.

Regina Myer said, “We are pleased at the level of architectural detail and thought that the different proposals put forth. That’s a huge vote of confidence in the overall city’s health.”

But she also took note of the reason for this project. “The financial aspect of the proposals is very, very important, because the ability for us to continue to fund the park using this resource is key.”

So, what’s left to fund and get built? In terms of major revenue sources, there is the John Street residential development in DUMBO. That may be the next big RFP submitted by the park. The second major revenue source is unknown at this time, but the deadline for a decision is Jan. 1, 2014.

At that time, a decision will be reached on what residential buildings, if any, will be built on Pier 6. If the Watchtower Society sells its buildings facing Piers 1 and 2 to developers, none or only some new structures may be needed on Pier 6.

What else? There is the Squibb Park pedestrian bridge, which will probably prove a much-used entry and exit into the park, especially for those who live in the North Heights.

Then there are the two structures in the DUMBO portion of the park. There will have to be resolution to the issue of how to develop Tobacco Warehouse, as there will be, and there will have to be an RFP for redevelopment of most, if not all, of the nearby Empire Stores. That will be a major challenge.

In the meantime, an impressive large waterfront park will rise and will probably receive many awards; some have already been given. And the park will receive many visitors, especially tourists.

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Filed under Brooklyn Broadside, Brooklyn Heights, Editorial

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