BBP Sniffing For Residential Developers On Vacant DUMBO John Street Lot

Brooklyn Bridge Park has issued a request for proposals to develop a waterfront residential complex along the DUMBO coast. A vacant lot on the north end of the park at John Street offers 9,600 square feet of develop-ready land just east of the Manhattan Bridge. According to BBP’s website, “It allows for up to 130 residential units comprising up to 101,000sf with a maximum height of 130 feet, up to 110 parking spaces and ground floor retail.”

The future John Street section of the park is about 1.5 acres and will serve as BBP’s northern entrance. It will eventually comprise a waterfront design, pedestrian bridges over a tidal salt marsh, tree-lined pathways and a 13,000sf public lawn. BBP will hold a site visit and information session January 23.

The site is currently owned by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, and will be acquired by Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., who will then transfer control of the site to BBP. BBP expects to commence construction on this section of the park immediately upon acquiring the John Street lot and complete the build-out within a year. Requests call for “green elements,” flood protective measures and sensitivity “to the existing public space and community.”

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  • TMS

    I wonder what school these new families will be zoned for. Hopefully not PS8, which is bursting at the seams.Maybe they could build a school too.

  • Gerry

    @ TMS – that school would be PS8.

    The NYC School Construction Authority builds schools not private industry.

  • TMS

    There is a school in DUMBO PS 307. Shouldn’t DUMBO kids be zoned there? PS8 is way too crowded.

  • Wiley E.

    Can’t Walentas (Two Trees) smell money?

  • Jorale-man

    Interesting that it doesn’t say anywhere on that page why exactly they’re assigning the land for development as opposed to expanding the park. The reason may be obvious (revenue), but they should make their case to the public before foisting more real estate development on the area.

  • stuart

    Make what case to the public? Most people do not wish to see any changes happen ever. People get up in arms not only about a beautiful new arena but also about a new playground or an antique carousel. The public just does not get it.
    City officials are right to forge ahead with progressive new plans and ignore the negative public reaction. Soon enough after the projects are built, the accolades will pour forth.

  • Wiley E.

    k-stuart. You seem like the kind of person who would build condos inside the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Once land is built on, it is lost for everything else. What is wrong with “parkland”? Oh, you can’t make a sales commission on trees and bushes. I get it.

    And no, the accolades do not always pour forth. Regrets and disappointment often do instead.

  • Still Here

    John Street residential development has been in the park plan since 2005. It is one of the original condo revenue sources (along with piers 1 & 6). And there have been many public meetings on this topic since 2005.

  • Mr. Crusty

    @still_here don’t confuse them with facts.

  • bklyn20

    Perhaps it’s ancient history, but as I recall it, Con Ed gave the John St lot back to the people of DUMBO as compensation for years of Con Ed air pollution. The Dumbo Neighborhood Association accepted the lot with the understanding (well before 2005) that it would be parkland. When the housing formula slid into place in December 2004, it suddenly changed into a development site.

    Re: the “many hearings”,this is an ESDC project and as such there is no need to take any of the public’s comments — ULURP does not apply.

    Even though this “development project” now has regular infusions of city tax funds, and the involvement of the NYC Parks Department, ULURP STILL does not apply. Even with flooding concerns and a seriously overbuilt surrounding neighborhood, housing is still planned for this site. Has the sheetrock on the bottom floor of 1BBP dried out yet? Is PS 8 half empty? The greenest element involved here has
    nothing to do with salt marshes.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Bklyn20: “Perhaps it’s ancient history, but as I recall it, Con Ed gave the John St lot back to the people of DUMBO as compensation for years of Con Ed air pollution. The Dumbo Neighborhood Association accepted the lot with the understanding (well before 2005) that it would be parkland”

    The “people of DUMBO” ? And was Con Edison promising to build the parkland and maintain it in perpetuity?

    I think the point Still Here was making is that the development of this portion of BBP is not something new as suggested by Jorale-man but has been part of the approved plan for over 7 years now. Below is a snipped from the BBP website listing the various “development” sites.

    The approved development program includes the sites and uses outlined below:

    John Street

    Located at the northern edge of the park just past the Manhattan Bridge, the John Street site is a 10,000 square foot site with a maximum allowable height of 130 feet. The John Street development will include up to 130 residential units, as well as ground floor retail and up to 110 parking spaces.

  • bklyn20

    Mr Crusty, the John St site was to be parkland before the 2004 housing-based plan was announced. I know full well that it has been planned as a housing site for many years; that is not in contention. My point is that land given for parkland became a site for luxury condos in an already overbuilt neighborhood, and that the hearings on this issue had no impact whatsoever due to the ESDC (Empire State Development Corp) status of what is still not deeded parkland. There are also 2 development sites at the south end of the park, near Atlantic Avenue. Fewer salt marshes and groovy-but-costly bridges might allow more open space for us all, and less overcrowding in local schools, to name just a few options.

  • SunFlower

    Use of the donated “Con Edison Lot” for high-rise condominiums by the Empire State Development Corporation, (now leased to the NYC Economic Development Corporation for 99 years), which was given to the community by Con Edison for restitution for pollution conditions, may be counter to the intent of the donation that the lot was to be used as parkland, and counter to Public Utility Commission requirements.

    The timeline of the Con Edison lot (1-11 John Street):

    March 1997: Con Edison signed an agreement with the staff of the New York State Public Service Commission and other parties to reduce electric rates and give its customers a choice of electricity suppliers. To help establish a competitive power generation market in Con Edison’s service area, the company agreed to sell, or divest, at least 50 percent of its fossil-fueled generating capacity in New York City.

    August 1997: The neighborhood learned that one of the properties that Con Edison was going to divest 1-11 John Street, a lot adjacent to Boiler 100, its Hudson Street steam generating plant in DUMBO/Vinegar Hill in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association, and Old Brooklyn Waterfront Alliance requested Con Edison to delay its impending sale, to investigate ways of preserving land for open, public access.

    March 1998: Con Edison announces plans to divest approximately two-thirds of its electric generating plants located in New York City. The divestiture plan was one of a series of actions the company took to foster competition Con Edison to reduce rates for its electric customers, and inaugurate a program under which they can choose their electricity suppliers.

    August 1998: Borough President Howard Golden asks for moratorium on sale of Con Ed lot to determine feasibility of public acquisition of land. In an article in the Brooklyn Park,

    August 28, 1998, Golden said that turning the area into parkland and open waterfront access is “worthy of serious consideration”.

    October 1998: Brooklyn Heights Association and the Dumbo Neighborhood Association invite the Trust for Public Land to view site. TPL provides affirmative advice and efforts towards goal of reserving land for democratic use.

    February 1999 NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Stern meets with NYC Councilmember Ken Fisher to discuss ways of city acquisition of land. Stern writes that State Parks has an “active interest in this property for public recreational purposes, and plans to purchase site.” Elected officials pledge capital funds toward acquisition.

    May 2000: Con Edison accepts terms offered by Trust for Public Land to acquire 1-11 John Street.

    January 2005: BBPDC unveils its new park plan in which the “Con Edison Lot” at 1-11 John Street is proposed for luxury, high rise development. Access to site afforded only along tenuous water-born bridge from Main Street site.

    The community led effort of reclaiming the former industrial Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront for public use and creating a new positive public image at the visible entry to Brooklyn, began in the 1970′s with advocating to save the 19th century coffee, tea and spice Empire Stores and Tobacco Warehouse complex, which were then owned by Con Edison. Community activist encouraged State Parks’ to take over this property, which is located between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridges. They then focused on creating a maritime museum at the Fireboat House at Fulton Ferry Landing. The group incorporated in 1985 as the Friends of Fulton Ferry Landing.

    In 1997, the property known as the “Con Edison lot”, located at 1-11 John Street, just north of the Manhattan Bridge, became available when the New York State Public Service Commission signed an agreement with Con Edison and other parties to reduce electric rates, and give its customers a choice of electricity suppliers. The company agreed to sell, or divest, at least 50 percent of its fossil-fueled generating capacity in New York City. Through the efforts of the Dumbo Neighborhood Association and the local elected officials, Con Edison agreed to transfer the lot to become part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The lot would now extend the Brooklyn Bridge Park public shoreline esplanade along the downtown Brooklyn waterfront, from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street.

    The proposal by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. to locate high-rise condominiums on this lot, would block access to the park from Jay Street, and would make it difficult to access the park from the F-train station at Jay and Yorke Streets, and would impede walking access from Navy Yard, Farragut Houses, and Vinegar Hill. After being walled-off from their waterfront for most of this century by warehouses and chained-linked fences, the BBPDC proposes to continue to wall off the community by edging the waterfront with high-rise condominiums.

    The Local Neighborhood Associations contend:

    that in the late 90s, that the Hudson Avenue Con Ed plant adjacent to the site regularly experienced explosions and other emergency responses.

    that the intent of the donation of the land to the park was community restitution for enduring pollution conditions from Boiler 100, the dirtiest power plant in NYC. Con Ed intended that the land be left as open, green space.

    that use of the donated “Con Edison Lot” for high-rise condominiums by the Empire State Development Corporation, (now leased to the NYC Economic Development Corporation for 99 years), which was given to the community by Con Edison for restitution for pollution conditions, may be counter to the intent of the donation that the lot was to be used as parkland, and counter to Public Utility Commission requirements.

    that the lot lies within the boundaries of the DUMBO Industrial State and National Register Historic district, and will require special permitting for preservation of archaeological resources and development of the site.

    that the lot lies within the 100-year floodplain in an area that already suffers from severe flooding conditions in heavy rain, and was totally flooded during Sandy.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Yawn.

    As they might say in a court of law the question about development in the John Street portion of BBP has been, “asked and answered”.

  • David on Middagh

    Thank for the historical perspective, SunFlower. I too am concerned about this era’s rush to develop, develop, develop. Even where we already had relatively unobstructed space (the wooden boards of the pier at Fulton Ferry Landing; the lawn and trees of Fulton Ferry Park), a burrito business and an Ohio carousel were installed. It seems we must fight, fight, fight for open space. The Fulton Ferry-area parkland that the proposed apartment building is supposed to help support has already been compromised.

  • Perspective

    Alot of that may be true. There may have been many discussions of Con Ed donating the property. But the fact is it was never donated. You can look it up in the City Records. The property is still owned by Con Ed. And according to the BBP press release it will be acquired by the park in the future. Most likely it will be bought for a price. The enitre parcel is an acre and a half. The development site is less than 10,000 SF. So more than 85% of the site will still be used for parkland.

  • Wiley E.

    Who in their right mind would build on, or buy residential space on a flood-prone lot next to a dirty, dangerous Con Ed Power Plant? How many morons are out there for slick developers to prey on?

  • Mr. Crusty

    Errrrrr…. The Con Ed plant won’t be there. Duh.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Errrr…. Crusty, Con Ed will still be there, the lot in question is only a small unused portion of the power plant. DUH DUH

  • David on Middagh

    Or will it?

    DUH DUH DUHHHHH….

  • David on Middagh

    /jk

  • Fast_walker

    Do you guys make animal noises like this in person as well, or just on the internet? Maybe that’s why you need that open space – to roam free on all four. You’d both be on Red at PS8.