Times: Walentas May be Two Years from Breaking Ground on Dock Street

In an interview by Vivian Marino in The New York Times, David Walentas, responding to a question about opposition to his Dock Street project in DUMBO, said this:

Some of the community people who oppose it have filed a lawsuit; we don’t think it has merit. But that will probably take six months to get resolved, and we’re dealing with the Board of Education to build a middle school. We expect to be going ahead with the project in the next couple of years.

Walentas also said Dock Street would be his last big project in DUMBO.

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  • Publius

    May it never happen. Especially now that the sunlight has exposed the duplicity, and willful information supression from those who supported the project and slid it through the ULURP process intentionally hiding the facts from public scrutiny. http://tinyurl.com/ycqxave

    I hope the lawsuit succeeds. Battle this.

  • Dave

    Remember how Two Trees and their apologists like Carlo Trigiani kept saying that Dock Street was a great project because it would help employ laborers in the economic downturn? If they aren’t ready to start building now, they certainly weren’t ready to start building then – as they claimed. Lies, lies, lies. I guess Carlo’s kids won’t be able to attend middle school in the neighborhood after all. Too bad.

  • Publius

    I’m sure Two Trees is very pleased with the recent Supreme Court decision. Now they won’t have to have their employees make fake “donations” to City Councilspeaker Quinn’s re-election fund to grease their projects through the City Council anymore. The bribes (er, I mean donations) can just come straight from Two Trees. Thank goodness corporations are now just like people and can “speak” their mind and even write large checks. Those campaign finance laws were so restrictive!

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Dear Dave,

    The school will get built. Maybe not in time for my oldest, hopefully my youngest. Regardless, the school when built will be an improvement for our community. Jobs will be created – hopefully sooner.

    It doesn’t help that meritless lawsuits are filed. It doesn’t help that banks aren’t making loans. Like many things in life (especially in NY) – patience and perserverance are required. Why don’t you put your energies in a positive direction and work to better your community? Call the DOE and push for a great Dock Street Middle School. You can make a difference.


  • Publius


    Rather than holding your breath for years hoping that after the lawsuit is possibly resolved in Two Trees’ favor, and that financing might exist to take many more years to build an out of scale new building that compromises the historic Brooklyn Bridge, only to result in a substandard middle school (according to the SCA’s own in-house architect), why not advocate for use of an exististing structure that would result in a proper middle school? Lots of jobs renovating the existing structure will be created in much faster time, and children could get the benefit of a middle school in much faster time.

    Why, after more proof of deceit and coverup have been exposed, do you still advocate so much for Two Trees and their substandard middle school?

    See this article detailing the additional coverup exposed after the corrupt ULURP process, where the School Contruction Authority’s own in-house architect calls the Dock Street project plans a “substandard” middle school. This information only saw the light of day following a FOIA request that was processed after the ULURP process was over. http://tinyurl.com/ycqxave

    Somewhere Boss Tweed is laughing.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Dear Pubilus,

    I’m not holding my breath. I’m trying to better my community by engaging the DOE and TT to make sure this is the best school possible. The work continues ….

    We read your arguments a year ago. Due process was served and continues as you and the obstuctionists will have yet another day or two in court I’m sure.

    There comes a point when you and your friends must put down your swords and work for the best result.

    I hope I’m alive to see that day.


  • bklyn20

    The Dock Street boosters seem to ignore one essential fact: THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT PS 8 STUDENTS WILL GET INTO THIS SCHOOL — if it is ever built. Perhaps Dock Street boosters like Carlo will receive preferential treatment, but this is a Dstrict-13 wide school. It was heavily marketed to Fort Greene, and many kids from there could apply — some are PS 8 kids, but others are not. There are just 300 seats in this school, if I recall correctly. Separate marketing campaigns for the neighborhoods on either side of Dumbo were carefully planned and distributed, so now it seems some people in both areas consider it to be THEIR school. I won’t let myself get too worried about the gym though — I assume that these kids will get first dibs on the Walentas carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • nabeguy

    bkyln20, true, true and true. And what were the construction costs that were being thrown around by the SCA for actual construction in the shell that TT’s offered? Wasn’t it in the area of $70 mil.? Over $233G’s per student. For that kind of money, you could send them straight to college.

  • bklyn20

    For that kind of money, I’d adopt them and home-schoool them on my parlor floor!

  • AEB

    I’d even give birth to one. Myself.

  • No One of Consequence

    You could buy each kid a studio apartment.
    Throw in a bag of weed and it would be just like they were at St. Ann’s.

  • Reggie

    The amount of money budgeted for the school build-out is just north of $40M, not $70M. Off course (as anyone who has ever renovated their kitchen knows) the amount budgeted is not necessarily the cost. nabeguy, what’s your source for $70M?

    I followed this issue as closely as anybody and I do not remember any marketing of the school to Fort Greene. Sure, Tish James supported it, and leaders at the Farragut Houses (from which, I understand, some PS8 students come) encouraged approval. But not Fort Greene, at least that I can recall.

  • nabeguy

    I’d have to go back through the threads, but at $40 mil, you’re still talking $133 G per kid. Okay, so we’ll have to send them to a community college. Is it an unlimited lease? Even if it remains a school for 20 years, that’s $6,700 per kid per year in taxpayer dollars to provide them with a roof. Seems a bit on the pricey side, if you ask me.

  • bklyn20

    Walentas hired Ken Fisher, the long-time City Councilman for our area, to be their lobbyist. Ken obviously knows the neighborhood very well, and I assume he helped with Walentas’ strategy — they played the nabes astutely. On around the last day of school in June 2008, flyers were sent out to PS 8 homes in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo. Perhaps they went to non-PS8 homes — I’m not sure. Another time, a yound man was standiong outside PS 8 at dismissal time, asking us to sign a petition for a local middle school. Only if you asked did he reveal that he was working for Two Trees and Walentas!

    I wonder where the mailing list came from?

    IN the mailer, the Dock Street school was decribed as a school for Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo and Vinegar Hill. That’s what you call coded language. I confirmed in a PS 8 meeting with the SCA (I think it was held at Plymouth Chruch) that it was to be a District 13 school — so more neighborhoods than the (mainly white and affluent) neighborhoods listed in the mailer would be able to attend the school. It was particulary smart (in a bad way) to send it out at the end of the school year, because then people begin scattering and are less able to discuss it together.

    Before the hearing on the school project, held at either Brooklyn PolyTech or LIU, and which I attended and spoke at, MANY people from Fort Greene and people from the Farragut, Whitman and Ingersoll houses spoke about how they needed “a school for their children.” Several speakers were from The Church of the Open Door; Reverend Taylor, who heads that church, carrries a LOT of clout in that neigborhood and in Brooklyn overall. Rev Taylor may have spoken — I don’t remember — but several speakers identified themselves with the church. Their 3-minute testimonies made it sound as if their kids had no school — when in fact their kids go to school at PS8 along with my kid! While I am sure these people would like a school their kids could walk to, just as we in the Heights would, both groups of children have the same middle schools available to them. From the way the speeches came out, people against the school seemed like intolerant twerps who thought shrinking a tall building was more important than educating kids. The nuances if the oriject , and its multiple inadequacies, were totally lost.

  • ABC

    I read up on this and decided to support this project. Sure, there were some back room dealings. Yes, my kids may not benefit from the school (is this how people think? is it good for me, me, or me?)

    Anyway, I know doing my own homework and making up my own mind about this project makes me an evil person. For once, I’m sympathetic to my Republican neighbors.

  • nabeguy

    ABC, sorry, but as strident as this dialogue may have become, it’s wrong of you to distill the opposition into a one-dimensional collection of self-interested parents who refuse to see the landscape beyond their own children. I won’t re-hash my own arguments against this project, as it would serve no purpose. Suffice it to say that, having done my own research, the only purposes that I can see being served have nothing to do with anyone’s children.

  • bklyn20

    This is not a me, me, me issue:
    1. The building is too tall and too near the bridge.
    2. The school is nowhere near the size we need in this neighborhood — even if all PS 8 kids get into the same school, and want to stay together — and they may not.
    3. The entire process was duplicitous and actually an insult to all the families. You can “sell” a real estate project, sure — but don’t use smoke and mirrrors when it comes to our children and their education.
    4. The way the building was marketed was truly repugnant. “Let’s divide and conquer so we can get a building built by using a micro-middle school as our Trojan Horse!
    5. There probably were back-room dealings, particularly with the SCA, those people in charge of building a safe environment for all our children. But, sadly, much of it was out in the open for all to see. However, what too many people saw was not the reality of the situation, but rather what a press and marketing campaign wanted them to see.
    6. If an 8th grader gets straight As, do they get their own rooftop cabana?