BHB Readers: NO on Dock Street DUMBO

Two Trees rendering

Two Trees rendering

Our poll results are in and the  BHB Community has given a big “thumbs down” to Two Trees proposed  Dock Street DUMBO Project.

More than half the respondents (55.6%) said “stop” the project while a third (33.3%) replied “build it”.   Some folks (1.9%) “don’t care” while 9.3% were undecided.  (View full poll results here)

CB2 has approved the plan.  It’s now on Brooklyn Beep Marty Markowitz’ desk for review.

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  • Publius

    No surprise. This is an unpopular project.

    It would have much weaker opposition if the building height is limited to below the bridge roadway.

  • my2cents

    But Publius, that would cause 2 Trees to make merely large profits when obscene profits are what’s called for.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    I am surprised at the low voter turnout. Maybe this isn’t the lightning rod it’s purported to be.

    80 folks speak in opposition to Marty. 60 people oppose on your on-line poll. 48 show up at the rally under the bridge. Respectfully, there is no mandate here.

    All parties need to give a little. Hopefully in the end, it will all work out.

  • No One Of Consequence

    Likewise, where is your grand support?
    Those in favor don’t seem to care enough to get organized, have a rally, a website, posters, etc.
    If you’re going to bandy about the numbers, at least be mindful that the nays outnumber the yays in each.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    30 of 37 CB #2 votes (81%) voted in support. 9 of 9 education committee members (100%) voted in support. 6 of 13 land use committee members (46%) voted in support.

    Many supporters showed up and voiced their position at the committee hearings. Supporters include local businesses, artists, public school parents, architects, DOE, SCA, church groups. It is a diverse group that is representative of Brooklyn.

    Let’s make the building the same height or slightly lower than the other tall buildings in close proximity and move forward.

  • Publius

    Let’s make the building below the bridge roadway and move forward.

  • No One Of Consequence

    Agreed, let’s see a new poll with that as an option.

  • Homer Fink

    The number of responses (108 unique responses) is the about same sample size as is used in quick market surveys fielded every week.

    Larger organizations can do more comprehensive canvassing, but most stat experts will say that ANY poll is statistically jiggy short of at least 4000 responses. Even Gallup – one of the “pros” in the field generally polls only about 1000 folks for their surveys.

  • CB Reality

    The Community Boards are unelected, cherry picked and too often rubber stamps to those that appoint them.

    CB members are often intimidated to vote against their councilperson’s position because either Marty or their City councilperson might not renominate them upon term expiration because the CB member exercised independent judgement. It’s happened too many times to keep track of.

    The BHB poll is much more representative of how the community feels than how the unelected/beholden CB members voted.

  • my2cents

    Carlo, an unscientific poll on BHB has very little to do with the reality here, no offense Homer – i did vote in it though. The fact that 80(!) people bothered to spend their evening speaking against this building to Marty is in my opinion a very strong indicator that ordinary people (as opposed to the folks you cite) don’t like this building in its current form. What do you want, Carlo? A march on DUMBO? just because this building doesn’t ignite violent passion in a lot of the population doesn’t mean it is a good project to build. Why not just build it at roadway height and be done? I don’t even care if they ditch the middle school trojan horse.

  • PS8 Parent

    I think it’s worth noting that the issue at hand is a land use question – whether or not Two Trees should get a zoning variance. Frankly, both sides have injected largely irrelevant questions into the debate – whether there should be a school in this project, whether the project blocks views of the bridge. Of course the full CB2 and the education committee voted in favor – they’re responding to the school issue. But I think it’s telling that on the actual issue that has been presented – zoning variance – CB2’s land use committee voted against it.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Of the 80, it’s safe to assume at least a third or as many as a half are losing their view. That’s not to say their opinion doesn’t count or shouldn’t be heard. But that opposition needs to be taken in the context from where it is made.

  • Publius

    Where did you pull that statistic out of? I don’t want to know. Wishful thinking and nice spin my friend. You should be in PR.

    I thought we were going to stick to the facts from here on out and proceed in the spirit of compromise so that you can hopefully get your school, and the community can preserve the integrity of our national landmark.

    One thing is factual about the Borough Hall public hearing was that of the minority that supported the project, a significant number–maybe even half, have a business relationship with Two Trees that they value preserving. That speaks volumes.

  • PS8 Parent

    I respect your opinion on almost every point you’ve made over the course of this debate, though I disagree with some. But I think you’re just flat out wrong when you keep insisting that a big percentage or even most of the Dock Street opponents are those who are losing their private views of the bridge. It weakens your argument to make inaccurate personal attacks.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Sorry guys. I’m not trying to make this personal. To me it is fair to consider whether those speaking in opposition are losing views. I think it’s fair that they hold me to a similar standard, if the school gets built, he may benefit if his kid applies and gets accepted. We all have some skin in the game – no reason to hide from it. It’s not personal, it’s just the fact.

    If I were losing a view, I’d be standing in opposition as well.

    Of those names who are on the record, who have like me consistently shown up and voiced their opinions, some are people who will lose a view. If you don’t believe me, search the white pages.

  • livesindumbo

    Carlo, did you consider those people who were sold a view (by one of the Walentases, no less) and told it couldn’t and wouldn’t be lost because zoning laws wouldn’t allow anything to be built that close to the bridge?

    I live in 70 Washington, and though my husband and I were subject to Mr. Walentas’s weaselly claims that we couldn’t lose our views on that side of building (he literally told us that “Nothing can be built that close to the bridge”), we opted for a higher floor on the opposite side of the building for less money. Plenty of people didn’t, and are now getting screwed. Walentas and Two Trees were outright dishonest and deceptive in their marketing practices. When do you think they started to really work on lobbying for Dock St? AFTER 70 Washington was completely sold and occupied.

    Lower the height of the building to below the roadway and maybe we can talk. Until then, 70 Washington residents will continue to be up in arms about this, and for good reason. They were outright lied to.

  • fulton ferry res

    Well, Carlo, there you go again. I’ll repeat what I said before: Of the 10 speakers last week who live in Fulton Ferry Landing, none, ZERO, will lose a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Some don’t even have views that face the bridge. Most of us spoke out in 2004 as well, when there was no school involved. Why is it so hard for you to believe that people could actually be against a 184′ building next to the Bridge because of a love of beauty, aesthetics, history, etc? And that we respect the dignity and grandeur of the Bridge, and don’t want to see it desecrated? Obviously there are some opponents whose motivation is their views, but I think you are overestimating their numbers. In 2004, 38 Water opposition was strong enough to cause Two Trees to withdraw the plan, and 70 Washington had not been converted to condos yet.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    I called TT. They sent me the Offering Memorandum for 70 Washington. Section 24 states:

    “Because the area is undergoing rapid development, the surrounding and nearby buildings may be renovated, including the construction of additional floors, and new buildings may be constructed. Accordingly, prospective Purchasers should be aware that there are no assurances that the view or views from any Unit will remain as they are as of the date of this Plan or the date of closing …”

    All due respect but that’s pretty clear.

  • cv

    If the DOE can get a middle school built in dumbo for less money than it would cost if it built or renovated elsewhere, the middle school might happen. It’s not an ideal solution — i.e. having a school in a neighborhood that’s difficult to reach by public transportation and by foot, that remains icy in many parts for long winter stretches, and that is right by the bridge (not that healthy for the kids). But it may be a compromise solution, in which case the greed of the developers and the views from windows matter less than the education of children. That is the reasoning of some.

  • nabeguy

    So, what kind of values would we be instilling in our children if we are to roll over to developers and CB’s and let them have their way by shoving a building and school down our throats which, for all the reasons cv succinctly details (plus many more) , is simply a bad idea? “Sorry kids, we know the area is kind of swampy and the traffic from the bridge is very noisy and the pollution inflames your asthma, but it’s the best we could come up with” Enough with the views arguments already, that’s a complete pig-in-a-poke to distract attention away from the charade that this whole project has “developed” into.

  • my2cents

    I am sorry for people who may lose their views from apartments. I really am. But the reason to oppose this project is really based on the fact that is simply not in the PUBLIC’s interest to have this structure built at that height in such close proximity to our most famous landmark in this borough. Would italians build condos next to the leaning tower of Pisa? Vistas and other “fuzzy” things may be hard to put a dollar value on them, but once they build this place it will be gone for good. I don’t give a damn if this place is built for orphans and refugees with no limbs, it IS TOO DAMN TALL FOR THE SITE. GOT IT? It is not in the best interest of the public for this project to be given a zoning variance, case closed.

  • davoyager


  • Carlo Trigiani

    From studying the developer’s model and assuming the politians negotiate it a floor or two lower, I sincerely feel that the design is appropriate and an enhancement to the community.


  • Publius

    A floor or two lower won’t cut it. The tower must be below the bridge roadway.

  • driggs

    Urban planning aside, isn’t building this just a stupid buisness decision. Given the recesion from hell, the number of projects close to being done, I have trouble seeing this getting done

  • nabeguy

    Driggs, there wil always be people out there with money, and Dumbo is still, for some reason, considered a prestige address. But you comment does point to the fact that, despite the softening tone of a compromised height reduction, the only way that TT can make this economically viable is to maintain the building as is, or make up the difference in lost space by adding it into the offering price of what remains. That may be where the rubber meets the road and prove to be the tipping point in pricing that willl drive people away.

  • driggs

    You have One Brooklyn Bridge park sitting, you have fancy sales offices for 30 Henry filled with tumbleweeds and crickets. Then you have the two shells of towers at Flatbush and Tillary.

    I agree there are always people out there with money, but there is an all time high in supply right now; If built this thing will be a financial disaster.

    If built, not a bad chance it goes belly up… Even better chance if they got any clue, they will not build it; for financial reasons alone.

  • nabeguy

    Trust me driggs…Two Trees has squirreled away a lot of nuts! They bought Dumbo properties at a song, and sold them at premium prices. I’m not worrying about their ability to pull this off.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    From a cyclical perspective, this is probably a good time for the developer, as he still has 12-18 months before he commences construction. That will give the market time to come back and banks time to start making loans.

    It should be noted that this is a rental building, as opposed to a coop/condo. The developer has surely evaluated those two alternatives, considered the financial implications and decided to proceed with the rental. His pricing of the rental units will undoubtedly be driven by market conditions.

    As for your belly up scenario, I’d be willing to bet that people would rather rent at Dock Street with the views and the neighborhood than rent and/or own elsewhere. Surely – TT feels the same. As has been written here and elsewhere, Walentas bought his DUMBO properties many years ago at, what by today’s standards, are very low prices. That factor bodes positively for the project’s financial success.

    The developer at One BB Park paid a comparatively much higher price, probably spent a fortune in construction and is undoubtedly now in a situation where he has to sell his units at higher than market prices just to pay off his note. Please understand – that is total conjecture. I do plan on going down to see the building this weekend as I suspect at some point there will be awesome apartments at good prices. Perhaps the developer will go the rental route as some money coming in beats no cash flow.

    In summary, Dock Street’s location gives it a competitive advantage. The low acquisition cost of the site bodes well for success. Logically, those are two reasons TT can offer affordable housing and the school.

  • driggs

    Makes sense.

    Still with housing prices having dropped 40% peak to trough in West (and probably another 20% to go), hard to see NY not going same way.

    I continue to suspect many of the battles being waged over new places now will end with nothing being built. Much like Atlantic yards….