CB2 to Walentas: Dock Dead

Community Board 2’s land use committee voted yesterday by a vote of 7-6 to reject Two Trees’ planned Dock Street DUMBO project.  The Brooklyn Paper reports that the denial was based primarily on the height of the project – 183 feet.  In a second motion the group recommended that the site be rezoned to allow a 75 foot tall building.  The rezoning vote was brought on by the Walentas desire to include housing in the building.  A far taller structure, the paper says,  could be built without the need for rezoning if DSD where to be re-imagined as a non-residential building or hotel.

Brooklyn Paper: CB2 Panel..: An attorney for the project, former city councilman Ken Fisher, said after the meeting that the committee’s second resolution — the 75-foot height limit — would make the project “completely unfeasible.”

“It is more likely that we would have to consider a commercial property and there would be no school,” Fisher said.

But Jed Walentas said he would consider slightly redesigning the building within the original rezoning proposal before the full board meets next month.

“If the community asked us to make the building a little shorter, we’d be happy to consider it before the application completes the process,” he said.

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  • Publius

    Unfortunately this might only be a temporary victory as the entire CB will reconvene in January to vote on the proposal now that the Land Use Committee has narrowly rejected it.

  • BklynLifer

    Here’s a question — do we think the members of CB2 will be able to withstand the blandishments (and threats?) of the latest billionaire trying to buy the democratic process? Let’s face it — money rules NYC now in ways it never has before. We have to go back to the Robber Baron days to find such out-and-out buying of public goods.

    Here’s a thought — how about asking every member of CB2, as they cast their vote, to reveal what Walentas’ agents (lobbyists and lawyers and others) have offered them in exchange for their vote?

  • Harry the Horse

    This is a beautiful thing. Trust Walentas? Puuuleaze…. Does anyone really believe there will be affordable housing? Look at Ratner over at AY- before the project totally collapsed and while he was still hoping to make it happen, a few months ago he acknowledged he could no longer afford the affordable housing part of the proposal, although he still had plans to go ahead with the rest of the project. Do you think Walentas would be any different? Look who this guy is- look at the BS at his new building over on Atlantic- he applies for a height exemption, he does not get it, so he puts in the cabanas anyway, b/c he doesn’t give a shit about rules or the community, then says hey, they’re not really cabanas, but they are of course….. and finally the City rules against him. This is the guy who promised to leave the historic “Sweeney Building” signs alone, and then when he painted over them, said he would put them back….duh that never happened. So he was willing to give the Dept of Ed a shell, no walls, no nothing; and knowing him that means no paint (ask the original owners at One Main how there were no closet doors when they moved in because “they were not in the offering plan”; you could also ask them about all the other shenanigans he pulled there, including, from what I heard, shall we say, “misappropriation” of utilities) Walentas and his lawyers are smart- and the Dept of Ed is not. What a shock it would be to find out the school is in the basement- and was there going to be a playground? I say the Dept of Ed take possession of Two Trees’ outdoor parking lot on Front Street, and use Eminent Domain to use that space for a middle school.
    btw- love BklnLifer’s suggestion about holding the full CB2 accountable-love to track their Two Trees connections, past. present and future, if this thing winds up passing the full CB2.

  • T.K. Small

    It is exactly circumstances like these that made me think that it is critical that CB2 must have a working website. Information about the background of each member could readily be posted for the public to review. In addition to raising concerns over the proposed Dock Street building, at the January meeting people should also pressure The Community Board four progress with having an effective website. I keep raising the issue, but I think I’m beginning to sound like a single issue lunatic.

  • BklynLifer

    It costs time and money to maintain an effective web site. The Community Boards have been cut beyond the bone by a mayor who does everything he can to tamp down opportunities for public dissent from what he wants to do. Clearly, he wants to help his fellow billionaire Walentas build the Dock St project, so he directed his Dept of Ed to show support for it. If this mayor REALLY cared about the public school kids in this neighborhood, he could take some land by eminent domain and build the school — just like he took land in the Atlantic Yards area and gave it to a developer to build 16 high rises and a basketball stadium. Why aren’t developers required to plan for, and build, public infrastructure (schools, fire houses, parks, etc) when they are allowed to build developments. Why must the public pay and the developers make billions?

  • http://none da

    A sad day for Brooklyn. That this committee puts the monetary interests of a few condo owners, the racist fears of some, and the vendetta against the developer by out of touch neighborhood groups ahead of the good of our children is a real tragedy. We have needed a public middle school in this area for over 40 years and now when we are so close with this perfectly reasonable development and this beautiful idea for a school, the thugs in Dumbo and the Heights have bullied this board into this shortsighted vote. The message to kids is “no room here for teens unless your folks are rich. Tough luck.” Shame on you.

  • Publius


    I believe it’s “shame on you” for gullibly taking Two Trees’ word that once they get their zoning passed, there will actually be a space for a middle school. Or “affordable” rentals. Where is this in writing? No where. Two Trees word. Ask a few of the people who live in One Main or 70 Washington what they think of Two Trees’ word.

    And for these promises that will likely come to naught, you are willing to barter away 125 years of architectual and engineering artistry? Our cultural and civic heritage?

    Tell me, since we can’t move the Brooklyn Bridge–why can’t we find another place for a middle school that could accomodate more than the 300 students the Dock St. plan is designed to accomodate, which, since it will be open to the entire school district, means only approximately 1 in 10 children would be admitted. Since all the city is getting is a box that would need tens of millions of dollars budgeted to make it ready, why are some people falling for this ploy, this trojan horse? I believe it’s desperation. And desperate people often make poor decisions.

    Who are the selfish ones? Wake up–in your desperation, you’re being suckered, and your trying to take your neighbors and future generations of Brooklynites down with you in your poor judgement. If there’s any shame to be blamed, look in the mirror.

    I’m very pleased that the CB made the right decision-albiet by a razor thin margin. Hopefully the full CB in January will not fall victim to your desperation and poor judgement.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Publius insists he’s the only one dealing with the facts and then includes inaccuracies to support his argument. The fact is he or his friends at 70 Washington should have read the facts presented in their prospectuses upon purchasing their condos. Two Trees warned potential purchasers that they owned Dock Street and intended to pursue development at the site. Sorry you are losing your view, perhaps you should take some of the blame yourself.

    Publius should also steer clear of presenting that only 1 in 10 children from the neighborhood will have a seat at Dock Street. Where he gets this number I’d like to know. Common sense will tell you that if a school is built in the neighborhood it will be for kids who matriculate at PS8. Well deserving kids who hail from the Heights, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and the Farragut Houses. (None of whom reside in Mr. Yassky’s house I might add and few if any from the homes of BHA and DNA residences.)

    I don’t feel the proposed construction ruins views of the Bridge. What view does it block? Most people walking over the Bridge look south to Lady Liberty. Perhaps Publius can’t point out his apartment to his visiting friends? Who’s being selfish now.

    And lastly, it’s a SCHOOL. How can you argue against a school? A school that will bring life to your neighborhood. A school that is not too big. A school that will help continue the progress made at PS 8. A school where the kids will walk out of at the end of the day and see our beloved Bridge. A school that welcomes kids of all races, religions and ethnicities.

    Think of the message you’ll be sending those kids Publius – you’re so important we built you a school. You kids are as important as the kids in the private schools.

    This opportunity is too good to pass up. Respectfully, please think about it.

    Carlo Trigiani

  • lee

    please take it from me. i have seen personally how walentas works. he uses promises and acts all concerned and caring. when all wants is to build condos after a lease is up.

    the school that i work in has been here way before dumbo was developed, when people did not want to live down here and it was pretty dangerous place to be after dark.

    now, that our lease is up after being here for over 17 years he did not renew the lease and will turn this building into condos. this building is already zoned for a school. if he is so hell bent on building a new building and making part of it a middle school. how about using this building for a middle school? which will only serve the rich and middle class.

    some people feel that he is doing such a good deed when all it is a self serving project (as all his projects have been). if the project gets approved you’ll get your middle school for 10 years and then what happens after that?

    i know of artists and small buisness that had to leave because he upped the rents or didn’t renew leases so he can make more money. these people had to find places to rent else where or they had to shut down the business after 15 years.

    please remember that history has away of repeating its self. if the building is approved people will get the middle school and when the lease runs out there will be condos not a school like he promised…