First Look At Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Hotel/Rez Complex

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. is expected to vote Tuesday June 19 on which developer will be awarded the contract to build the controversial BBP hotel and residential complex next to Pier 1 near DUMBO, as mandated by NYC Mayor Bloomberg to fund the future of the park.

Curbed refers to reports in The New York Times and Crain’s that favor Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital Group. Those companies have combined forces to offer a hotel comprising 200 rooms, with a 160-unit condo complex. There will also be 32,000 square feet of restaurant & banquet space, a 6,000-square-foot spa and 300 parking spaces. Under the development guidelines for the park, the hotel and connecting residences cannot exceed 100 feet in height, while a separate residential building can’t be more than 55 feet tall.

In addition, three more apartment buildings—one at John Street and two next to Pier 6—are planned for the park. The project, which would begin construction in 2013 and open in 2015, claims that it will generate $119.7 million in rent and other payments. It is conceivable that the multi-use residential and commercial complex will be complete long before the park itself.

Share this Story:

, , , ,

  • resident

    It may be a buzz kill, but without a dedicated funding source, we’ll end up in the same situation as the Hudson River Park, having to take our chances that over 50% of the neighborhood doesn’t oppose a Neighborhood Improvement District. I wouldn’t like our chances in that scenario…

  • DrewB

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, that despite promises to the contrary the residential units will be built before the park is completed.

  • Chucky

    Chuck – you need to actually sit down and study the history of this park and understand what the hell you are talking about before you ever make public comments about this project again. Every single piece you write on this blog betrays your ignorance of how this project is supposed to happen.
    1) This common refrain about the park progress being slow is absurd. Every year for the past two three years, a significant new portion of the park has opened. In addition the park has projected new sections opening up over the next 3 years as well. This was always going to be a phased in project and that’s exactly what is going on. Check the park’s website. They have a phasing map up there that has been up there for 3 years an updated frequently. Take a look at it and you’ll see that by 2015 over 80% of the park will be complete.

    2) I don’t know what kind of expertise you have, but building on the waterfront is expensive and complicated. Before you can build on a pier you have to make sure that piles underneath are stable. Alot of work happens underwater that you can’t even see. Chuck have you ever built anything ever? Then shut up and stop whining.

    3) The park needs to be maintained and operated. There are development sites that have been approved to fund these costs. The pier 1 site is one of the. The park went through a whole process last year looking at alternatives to these developments and didn’t come up with anything. The “nature decimating complex” that you are criticizing actually pays for the watering and seeding and pruning and caring for the landscape. Without this complex this nature would not be cared for and would deteriorate rapidly.

    4) The development pays for the care of the park. You can’t wait till the whole park is done before you do the development. How would you pay for the park this year without the development?

    How about a little more responsible journalism and a litle less snark?

  • John Q

    Dear “Chucky”– Blog responses by even “quasi” public employees (AKA “Chucky”) should carry your real name and affiliation. My guess is that YOU would be a whole lot less snarky and maybe a little more responsive to the public’s concerns if you were not able to hide behind a fake name. Whatever merit your points may have are negated by your faked response. Admitting that the hotel development inside the park is paying you a salary greater than you would ever earn if you worked for the parks department might be a good step towards restoring your personal credibility.

  • Suzie Q

    I have to agree with cousin John… if “Chucky” receives one cent of public funding either directly or indirectly, it is not acceptable for “him” to respond to public criticism while masquerading as a citizen. Using tax dollars or public funding to HIRE professionals who then PRETEND to be citizens in an effort to blunt public criticism is nothing less than REPREHENSIBLE.

  • Chucky

    The writer of this blog post is writing things that are not true either in fact or in spirit and I am correcting them. If you have any reason to believe that anything that I’ve said is not factually correct, then you are welcome to make insinuations about my motivations. But if what I’m saying is correct (and neither of the Q’s even mentioned any of my points) then it doesn’t really matter who I work for or what I do for a living, does it? Telling the truth is not “reprehensible” – lying is.

  • Grumble

    regardless of all that, it will still look like giant, shiny blocks of publicly funded, privately owned turd. Given the way this whole “development” process has been going, this project deserves all the snark it gets.

  • Mr. Crusty

    I’m with Chucky here. There is no free lunch. The park, which will be a huge plus to the community, needs to be funded. I don’t think the complex Is “nature decimating”. What “nature is there now to decimate? Just the opposite. The complex will pay for the park which will be enjoyed by so many for the next 100 years. How else do you plan to fund the cost of building and maintaining the park?

    If it were the naysayers nothing would ever get done and we would have the rusting metal piers crumbling forever. I can’t stand the reflexive opposition to EVERYTHING.

  • Jorale-man

    I think one should take the long view with a project like this. Will Brooklyn residents in 20, 50 or 100 years down the road look back and wish the city hadn’t devoted so much of the land to massive hotel projects to plug a funding shortage? Would it have made more sense to explore other alternatives? Maybe the city should have waited a couple more years to explore other funding options before giving Toll Brothers or Starwood access to public park land?

    I fail to see where the park developers have taken the time to step back and ask these crucial, soul-searching questions before going ahead with these massive buildings. (And by the way, there is money out there if a private citizen can get a biking facility constructed near Pier 5.) This all may become a huge source of regret some day.

  • Ridiculous

    Jorale-man – did you miss the last year which was dedicated exploring other funding options? They just spent a whole year stepping back and doing exactly what you said. Also I don’t the fact that one bicycle obsessed rich guy wanted to build a velodrome means anything. It’s a one in a million thing that you shouldn’t really be depending on.

  • resident

    Jorale-man, I think Brooklyn residents will look back in 50 years and be thankful that a beautiful park got built in a beautiful location despite the fact that the landscape does not lend itself to a park. I think they’ll be thankful that there is a dedicated funding source, and upkeep isn’t subject to the whims of the city council dealing with a recession.

    I also think people won’t perceive the property as being “in” the park, but rather adjacent to, and in the long view most will forget there was ever a controversy.

  • north heights res

    So forgive my ignorance…but will these new buildings completely block the view from the Promenade of the river, the harbor, lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Bridge? I’ve sort of followed this over the last few years and looked at various renderings, but I’ve lost track of it, and it looks like maybe some of the Promenade at the southern end of the development exists, but that we lose most of the view north.

  • Jorale-man

    @north heights – the developers maintain that the building tops will sit just below eye level along the promenade but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’ll be intrusive (and I know there were warehouses there before but these appear much bulkier based on the renderings).

    Again, I would just encourage people to step back and ask, fundamentally, is this the only option there is? Remember too that architecture goes in and out of style; these hotels may be fashionable now but in 50 or 100 years they’ll look dated. But unlike a more urban setting, where they blend in, these will dominate the surrounding parkland. But I guess they do have their fans.

  • carol

    Does anyone pay attention?
    Drew B: The MOU between Senator Squadron and Assembly member Millman regarding housing did not include development on Pier 1 so no promises were ever made about the hotel/residential project there.

    Jorale-mon: No one gave Toll Brothers/Starwood access to public parkland. The piers that was acquired from the Port Authority for Brookyln Bridge Park have not yet been dedicated as parkland (perhaps it’s time to do so). The plan for BB Park clearly showed the “development” sites, including the hotel site on Pier 1.

    north heights res: No – the hotel/condo complex was required to not block the protected view from the Promenade. This is not to say you won’t see it from the Promenade but there were rules; you may think they weren’t stringent enough but they do exist.

    Is it too much to ask that people be a tiny bit informed before popping off? Ill-informed comments aren’t going to convince anyone of the validity of an argument.

  • north heights res

    Thanks, Carol and Jorale-man, for explaining. That’s a relief.

  • Mr. Crusty

    “Remember too that architecture goes in and out of style; these hotels may be fashionable now but in 50 or 100 years they’ll look dated.”

    Well, I guess we should never build anything because in 50 or 100 years it might look dated. Yikes!

  • BH’er

    It’s too bad the buildings will block the view down to the waterfront – it’s nice to be able to see what’s going on and blocking that view will take away from that

    on the 50/100yr topic, buildings are renovated quite frequently – if the outside appearance diminshes their value, someone will renovate

  • Rick

    When Central Park was being created, developers tried to build a racetrack in it, but that terrible idea was defeated because at that time enough people understood that quiet green spaces in a frenetic city like New York is essential. The accommodation given to developers to build a large hotel complex in Brooklyn Bridge Park demonstrates that the spirit that built Central Park and Prospect park is gone. Better to have waited on the park than to have lost the chance to have such a space.

  • Promenade Princess

    While everything that’s been posted here is valuable fodder for discussion, did everybody forget that this is the brooklyn heights BLOG? this is not the new york times, and if its writers happen to have a viewpoint once in a while, the responsible reaction is to discuss–not to start railing on the writer of the posts.

    If anyone has noticed, Mr. Taylor writes numerous posts every week here, and they always seem to make reference to his sources with links so you can read the “facts” for yourself. The majority of them are completely objective, so if he wants to throw out an opinion once in a while, it’s all food for thought.

    I can only imagine how very different the comments on the BHB would be if any of us were forced to use our real names. I’ve said this before… don’t shoot the messenger. Read, discuss, but being disrespectful to the writers of this website is uncalled for.

    I enjoy every post every day and am appreciative of the work and research that goes into everyone’s writing (Mr. Scales, without your weekly subway update i’d never make it out of Brooklyn!)

  • resident

    @Rick… When they were building Central Park… the land was relatively empty (read: cheap). Comparing the two eras is comparing apples to oranges. But if we’re on the subject, they did give part of central park to the Met, did they not?

  • Rick

    @resident… I don’t think the principals of humanizing a city by keeping some areas for quiet enjoyment is unique to any one era, but it does seem the current government in NYC is surprisingly unsympathetic to those ideals.

    And yes, the Metropolitan Museum was built upon park land (after a great deal of controversy), but the museum is tiny as a proportion of Central Park when compared to the proportion of the hotel complex to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The hotel and all of the supply and support trucks, garbage removal, etc.will have an enormous effect on the small park and whatever peace can be currently found there, what with the noise of helicopters.

  • A math major

    Rick, I would expect all of those trucks to operate from the Fulton side of the building — where the building would completely shield the park from any noise.

  • So Sad….

    Sad that so many neighbors are buying into the ridiculous “privatization” scam and a telling commentary on the sorry state of civic awareness. Here’s a brief reminder of the definition of what a “park” is:
    “A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by law.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Rick says, “I don’t think the principals of humanizing a city by keeping some areas for quiet enjoyment is unique to any one era, but it does seem the current government in NYC is surprisingly unsympathetic to those ideals.”

    Huh? A huge park is being developed on the Brooklyn waterfront. An area that will offer areas for quiet enjoyment on the grounds that had housed warehouses and crumbling piers for decades and you are complaining. It’s really amazing to me. Some people just hate government I guess and will complain about anything that they do. If they didn’t have the private development you would have a whole bunch of people complaining that their tax dollars are going to pay the huge costs of the park and it’s upkeep. Why should a resident pay for a park that he will likely never use?

    The area being developed as parkland is huge. When completed it will offer acres and acres or quiet recreational space – something that did not exist before the bad bad government got involved. The space taken up by the private development will not diminish the wonderful park that it will help create and maintain.

    Get a grip people.

  • Rick

    I wasn’t going to come back to this, but the characterization of a desire for government to prevent the construction of a large hotel complex in a public park seems to me to be the opposite of a hatred for government, but instead is an admiration for the kind of government that would have taken a more active role in preventing excessively intrusive commerce from entering public parks.

    The Brooklyn waterfront is enormous, and so much of it is either unused or underused. Large commercial facilities should be located at a greater distance from quiet parks. There is plenty of room along the waterfront to accommodate both.

    I love the idea of this park, and it is a welcome addition to the community. But it is also a lost opportunity. We will have to live with the hotel complex and all its unintended effects for a very long time.

    This park could have been so much more by being a bit less.

  • Livingston

    I find all these references to “nature” to be almost comical. BBP is man-made nature (ant thus, needs to be maintained). Up until a few years ago, the whole area was heavily industrial/commercial. Mother Nature hasn’t resided there in several hundred years.

  • Robert

    I followed the “research” for alternate funding very closely, and there WERE OTHER WAYS TO PAY for this park without private housing. Smart ways and some of them were included in the report (but some were not explored because Squadron and the Mayor had already decided that housing was the best solution, just a wee bit less than had been originally planned, but housing nevertheless). Take it out in the voting booth, folks. Hold the new mayor to the task of eliminating housing from our park, and fire Squadron.

  • dog lover

    I’ve read all your comments or most. Didn’t see anything about the height of the East River in 50 years, when most of the BBP might be under water. Also as soon as the politicians we have now are gone their replacements will take the income generated to maintain the park to pay for other things. No one to stop them. Laws change with the politicians.

  • Rick

    @Livingston… Couldn’t help but notice that almost half of the uses of the word “nature” on this thread have been yours.

    And the only uses of the word “nature” other than the title of this story have been sarcastic references to why it is not nature. No one here is saying that the park is natural.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Rick you say: “I wasn’t going to come back to this, but the characterization of a desire for government to prevent the construction of a large hotel complex in a public park seems to me to be the opposite of a hatred for government, but instead is an admiration for the kind of government that would have taken a more active role in preventing excessively intrusive commerce from entering public parks.”

    What park are you talking about? There is no park where the complex is going to be built. Was there ever a park there? Was there ever a blade of grass to enjoy. Were there great expanses of quite to relax and contemplate the nature of the universe? No, there were ugly dilapidated warehouses.

    The commercial complex is what allows a park to be built and maintained on the waterfront.

    So what is the alternative? That NYC taxpayers pay for the construction and $20M annual maintenance. Is that your preferred alternative? Because life is always about choices. Compromises. We seem to forget that these days. We see that in our politics. It’s my way or no way. And as a result we get nothing done.

    So again I ask you, what is your alternative? If it is that the taxpayers pay for a park in your backyard I’ll guarantee there will be enough public objection that that would not happen. Then what? Would you prefer that the project just stop dead in its tract because of a lack of funding so you can feel vindicated that you prevented a commercial enterprise on not yet built park land? Or would it be better to have the beautiful park and suffer the indignity of having a hotel on the outskirts? Choices my friend. You can’t just throw brickbats without having an alternative plan.