Mayor Bloomberg announced this evening that city and state officials plan to sign an agreement tomorrow concerning the funding of Brooklyn Bridge Park that may result in smaller scale housing being built on park land, and may even eliminate the need for the two planned new buildings near the foot of Pier 6.
The New York Times: After months of uncertainty over the fate of the popular Brooklyn Bridge Park, city and state officials plan to sign an agreement on Tuesday that would allow limited private housing to be built there, to help pay an expected annual operating cost of $16 million.
The agreement ensures that the park, which now measures 20 acres, will be completed, eventually expanding to 85 acres on five disused piers along the East River.
According to the Times story, the agreement will allow a building planned for John Street in DUMBO to proceed, but at a greatly reduced scale. The story also mentions in passing the planned combination hotel and apartment complex (although it characterizes it as “a hotel and retail complex” and asserts that it has “attracted less controversy”) planned for the landward side of Pier 1, for which the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has announced its intention of issuing a request for proposal this month, and which apparently will not be affected by the agreement.
The big news is that the city has agreed to consider revenues from the sale of Watchtower properties as a source of park funding. Under the agreement, to which the Watchtower is not a party, should the Watchtower sell all or some of its properties in conjunction with its planned move upstate before January 1, 2014, the city will consider tax revenue from those properties as offsetting the need for payments in lieu of taxes from the residential buildings planned for Pier 6. Under the proposed offset formula, according to the Times, it would take sales of 1.5 million square feet of Watchtower property to eliminate the need for both Pier 6 buildings.
State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been a strong advocate of use of revenues from the Watchtower properties to fund park opeartion and maintenance, and who, under the earlier agreement between the city and state authorizing the city to take over development of the Park, has been given veto power over the construction of housing on park land, is quoted by the Times as saying the new agreement is “not as extreme as the plan that we’re changing, but a way to build a great new park in tough times.”