St. Ann’s Gets “Conditional” Nod for Tobacco Warehouse

There was no surprise at this afternoon’s meeting of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation’s board of directors. After a presentation by the Corporation’s president, Regina Myer, that duplicated the one she gave at the community meeting on Monday, and after her briefly summarizing the comments made at that meeting, which she described as being split about 50-50 between those favoring adaptive re-use of the Tobacco Warehouse as a year-round arts venue and those opposing it, the chair entertained a motion to accept the recommendation that St. Ann’s Warehouse be conditionally designated the party to develop the site. In the ensuing discussion, the only board members to speak against the motion were the representatives of Councilmember Steve Levin, Assemblymember Joan Millman, and State Senator Daniel Squadron, all of whom objected to the lack of transparency and public input in the process leading to the designation. The motion carried on a voice vote.

In other business, the board unanimously accepted the bid of HNTB Engineering & Architecture to do the design and engineering work for the pedestrian bridge from Squibb Playground to Pier 1. The board also approved two new members of the Community Advisory Council, one of whom is Heights resident Tony Manheim.

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  • bklyn20

    I am very happy Tony Manheim is now on the CAC. But did they agree to put Sandy Balboza on — or back on, as she was voted in at the previous CAC meeting and then removed? (Sandy is head of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association.) I understood that CAC members voted her on, and the the BBPDC said “no.” .

  • ABC

    why did they bother with the whole request for proposal charade anyway?

  • bklyn20

    ABC, they do this so less-informed people will think this is a public park with features chosen by or approved of by the public.

  • communitarian

    Apparently the fix was in as soon as Walentas decided he couldn’t live without installing a high-rise under the Brooklyn Bridge, and therefore needed to find somewhere for St Ann’s to go.

  • Reggie

    The CAC, I believe, is a creature of the BBPC, so I don’t believe the membership has the power to select its own members. It is my understanding that BBPC, with input from local elected officials, appoints who is on the CAC.

    Oh, and while I’m here: what communitarian said.

  • BigDave

    St. Ann’s Warehouse has had a sweetheart deal with the Walentas from the time it moved down the hill. While I am happy for any arts group that gets free or virtually free real estate in NYC (look at the Public Theater/NY Shakespeare Festival in Manhattan), there ought to come a time when that group, by virtue of its ability to channel operating costs away from real estate into its programs, gives back to its community, especially to smaller arts groups without permanent homes. St. Ann’s Warehouse certainly brings an international menu to Dumbo; the question is what are they going to do for NYC, especially Brooklyn, performance groups and artists? The “public” component of the St. Ann’s Warehouse proposal looked small and self-serving. I would like to hear from St. Ann’s Warehouse specifically as to how they will share the space.

  • Publius

    The Brooklyn Paper has updated info:

  • ujh

    The question is this: If Saint Ann’s Warehouse has had a sweetheart deal for years on rent with Two Trees Management, or the Walentas family personally, where are the funds coming from to enable the arts presenter to not only build a theater but maintain the outer walls of the Tobacco Warehouse, as required in the RFP?

  • bklyn20

    Reggie, I do know that that’s the reality of the CAC, but I think that it should then be re-named the Community Advisory Creature Council (very good vis-a-vis the muskrat family, no?)

    How about CACC for Community Advisory Captive Council, or CACoerced Council? Maybe HAC is better — Hand-picked Advisory Council?!

    This is said with alologies to those on the —AC who are doing their best to think independently about how to get a real park for our city.

  • bklyn20

    Apologies as well.

  • BigDave

    ujh, funds for capital expenditures are always easier to raise than money for operating costs; that said, all one needs to do is go to the St. Ann’s Warehouse website to see from whence the money comes:
    An impressive list which includes, by the way, the Walentas, who are also on St. Ann’s Warehouse board.