BHA Seeks Smaller Tower at Pier 6; Slams Pierhouse Addition

In a statement released last night on their website, the board of the Brooklyn Heights Association has requested that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation reconsider the proposed heights of two controversial residential towers now in the planning stages for Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

According to a statement on the Association’s website, the BHA board commented:

While we have long accepted housing as the primary source of operating and maintenance funds for the Park, we believe that a 315 foot structure on Pier 6 is simply too tall and will overpower the surrounding landscape. In a recent letter to Regina Myer, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, we asked the Park to reduce the size of the buildings and voiced our support of the Community Advisory Council’s request for more detailed revenue and cost projections.

In the letter to BBP’s Myer the BHA board was clear about their concerns regarding the plans which have generated outrage among local residents:

The new buildings at Pier 6 are an opportunity to transform the Brooklyn skyline as seen from Manhattan, from the Brooklyn Bridge, from New York Harbor, from the Park, and from elsewhere in Brooklyn. Our careful review of the 14 responses, however, confirms our objection to the height of the taller building. Although many renowned architects and firms responded to the RFP, not one of the tower sketches submitted looks anything other than massive and out of scale.

In every proposal, the 315-foot height overpowers the surrounding context, including One Brooklyn Bridge Park, the building to be placed on Parcel B, and the Park itself. Rather than enhancing the surroundings, as the design guidelines intend, a building of such height and bulk would overwhelm the Park’s waterfront, create a visual and psychological barrier, and loom over our neighborhood. A more ideal height would be consistent with the second planned building and the height of the primary roof line of One Brooklyn Bridge Park (approximately 150 feet).

Last week the BHA posted a statement about its displeasure with the height of the Pierhouse Hotel, another contentious issue among local residents. In 2005 Otis Pearsall, working with the BHA, negotiated a maximum height of 98 feet for the building which was to replace the demolished National Cold Storage warehouse, in order to preserve views of Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade.

For a variety of reasons, including Superstorm Sandy, which required the developers of Pierhouse to relocate building mechanicals so as not to be vulnerable to flooding, and apparent miscommunication about the agreement made between Mr. Pearsall, Matthew Urbanski, project manager for Michael Van Valkenburg Associates and Wendy Leventer, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, the height of the Pierhouse apparently exceeds 130 feet, a situation that has caused much dissent, apparently including among members of the BHA board.

PHOTO CAPTION: Proposed massing studies for two towers—one 31 stories, the other 15 stories—proposed for Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park

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  • gc

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that we’re being rolled over by the real estate developers. If the BHA is shocked well then shame on them. Time to wake up and smell the roses. Maybe it’s not too late.

  • johnny cakes

    Since the building is too tall, it should be removed – entirely. Then plant some trees on the footprint.

  • Sad arch grad stu

    Sad that this elegant letter from the bha is even necessary… I just don’t understand why anyone would think blocking any view of a structure as inconic as the Brooklyn Bridge… Is acceptable? Moral relativity according to what?

  • Justine Swartz

    BHA has no power. Building developers will walk all over you.
        Get ready to write another letter when our Cadman Plaza Library is demolished and a monstrous condominium takes it place. 
    You don’t learn from your mistakes.  The time to stop the building is before it starts!!!

  • Jorale-man

    What’s interesting is how BBP talks a good game about sustainability in constructing the park – building the salt marshes and reusing old materials, etc. But a 30-story skyscraper casting a giant shadow over the greenery and causing traffic congestion doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. It’s rather hypocritical.

  • Andrew Porter

    Heaven forbid that in deciding to place the mechanical and electrical systems above possible flooding, the builders could simply take away one or two apartments. No, instead, they added extra floors to the building, despite their agreement to height limits.

    If the builders thought they could get away with a 200 foot high tower, they would have built that, too. I am reminded of several buildings here in NYC, where extra floors were added without DOB permits. After long legal battles, these were required to be removed. Perhaps such could be done here.

  • Carlotta

    Seems the BHA has woken up to the horrendous real estate developments surrounding Brooklyn Heights. Too late, it appears, to stop the ruin of the iconic view of the Brooklyn Bridge but not to late to stop, hopefully, the towers at the south end of the park or with a plea in my voice, to stop the tower planned to replace the library – especially since the developer has said the plan is still on scratch paper.

  • StoptheChop

    It’s disingenuous, to say the least, for the BBP(D)C to claim that it has no current knowledge about the height-restriction agreement re Pierhouse, since it has many of the same Board members as were involved 15 years ago. But then again, now that the Park is a NYC “destination” (and since deBlasio has out-of-hand dismissed any revisiting of Bloombergian fiats, despite his campaign pledges), it feels free to ignore the community that fostered it, advocated for it, and raised money for it (and is still expected to do so) for so long.

  • mykelde

    enough with all the lies & deceptions. perhaps it’s time to start protesting in front of Ms. Myers home & the other deadbeats on the Board of BBPDC.

  • Heights Observer

    Well said and I couldn’t agree with you more. The offending floors should be removed. Is there any way we normal citizens can help that process along?

  • Solovely

    Grateful for the BHA’s thoughtful letters…

    The buildings, both Pierhouse and those proposed at Pier 6, will be around for many, many generations to come… It’s never too late for BBPC to ‘do the right thing’

  • gc

    Nothing less will have any impact at all.

  • Roberto Gautier

    I propose the planting of hundreds of trees as a sane alternative to high-rise structures that block light, fill a public park and further require area residents to have big bucks to live in the neighborhood.

  • TeddyNYC

    I’m not looking forward to the day I no longer have a sunset thanks to these new buildings on pier 6 blocking the setting sun.

  • 5Gen

    BHA played the fool and it’s the residents who have to live with the aftermath. I wouldn’t put much faith in protests or petitions. Those actions seldom have any impact with matters involving such monetary enormities.
    We have already been heavily impacted by the growth in building and population. If it continues the quality of life in our neighborhood will continue to decline. I was very much in favor of the park but not at this cost.
    I would like to know the plans for expanding and improving infrastructure to support the population explosion in Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Carol Gardens, Red Hook, DUMBO, Gowanus….oh wait, was phase one infrastructure support to remove a fully functioning hospital and replace it with an ER? Right… I get it. BHA, do you? Get ready for more of the same people. I would be interested to know the numbers I.e. what is the total of new housing and residents in these areas in the last 20 yrs? I’m certain those numbers are staggering and knowing what’s on the horizon they will be soaring yet still. I never opposed the park or improved housing but it must be done in a way that’s healthy both for those who reside and for quality of these communities. Clearly it’s gotten out of hand and we need a much better plan. The BHA and our elected got us into this mess and as long as they continue to allow this we should just suck it up and enjoy the fruits of their overdevelopment and greedy planning. Oh, and If I have any money left after my next tax increase I’ll spend it on rat traps.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Election Day is the Tuesday. Consider voting against all incumbents to send a clear message of your “appreciation” for their backing of real estate over the good of the community.

  • cindy sm

    Now someone has Started to say something. Whining on the blog
    Doesn’t do anything. Highly visible
    disfavor with an assault on the public
    Trust counts.

    Cindy ‘ s law # 1: When your country
    (Or home) is in danger; nothing beats
    The street…

  • cindy sm

    Before you consider any other aspect
    Of this storm already assaulting our
    Lands, first you should think ABOUT

    MORE EMS..


    Oh, I see you think this is an “extreme”
    view? Well the measure of how much
    We are in danger is the number of
    people who DON’T recognize the above…

  • cindy sm

    That assumes the electoral process still works…but the computerization of
    Elections aside. How many of you. Blog whiners will be holding ONE sign at
    ONE location a legal distance from
    One poll telling voters to not re elect
    Anyone unless they are hard core
    For control of what is happening…
    How many of you will be printing
    ONE flyer distributed from now to
    And on election day asking for a
    Serious change in voting habits

    How many of you whiners are going to do that? I thought so….

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Stop whining.

  • cindy sm

    Once a very great figure, who I think
    is still a Heights resident, had two maxim
    Which adopted as two of my basic


    and he also used to say: WHEN YOUR

    Oh I see..some of you think the above
    Is “extreme” or not PC? Well that’s
    EXACTLY why you are being walked
    On now…

  • cindy sm

    And start the high visibility shock
    Waves. …or be walked on…

  • A Neighbor

    Conflict of Interest
    According to locals, at least two BBPC board members (Offensend and Guttman) have purchased or are negotiating to purchase apartments at Pierhouse. Which may have contributed to the board’s casual project oversight. It is, at least, a blatant conflict of interest.

  • Cindy sm

    Thats interesting…now what is anyone
    Going to do about it?

    Anyone feel like causing press coverage
    of something like this? Is one of you
    Going to print up and distribute ONE flyer
    On what you described? How about ONE
    of you spending ONE hour placing flyers
    on cars around the locations and other
    Sensitive locations?

    Well what do you expect…

  • Solovely

    really? oh my goodness. if that’s true? shouldn’t that be publicly disclosed? or shouldn’t they recuse themselves from relevant votes?

  • TMS

    good idea, everyone should do this

  • TMS

    welcome to our new reality with the eyesore at Pier 1

  • TMS

    I propose builders be required to detail how they will help support the infrastructure of these growing neighborhoods. Someone’s gotta.

  • TMS

    Post the addresses so people can go and protest

  • TMS

    I propose they make the library into a new school.