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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  • TMS

    THIS is what the BHA needs to do. Hello, BHA, did you read this?
    “…several buildings here in NYC, where extra floors were added without DOB permits. After long legal battles, these were required to be removed…”

  • TMS

    I agree! Or, have the BHA hire a lawyer to do as previous poster said…
    “…several buildings here in NYC, where extra floors were added without DOB permits. After long legal battles, these were required to be removed.”

  • TMS

    Agree! If the BHA hires a lawyer to sue the developer to remove the extra height, we have precedence on our side. How can we get this done?

  • TMS

    Can you post these buildings or any legal reference so I can research?

  • TMS

    We can take to the courts. We’ll need to find a willing attorney.

  • Brixtony

    Death is merely nature’s way of telling you to slow down a bit.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    When you take to the courts in a corrupt state, i.e., New York State, like we did to try to save LICH, you get a political solution and not a legal one.

    Vote them ALL out.

  • sue

    The BHA is fast becoming a failed organization. It is a small group of less than 1000 with outsized influence due to its storied past and rich memberhip. What we know know is that Guttman, Offesend and the others who think they are giants are really smaller than life.
    The organiztion is severly compromised and it seems that noone is playing attention.. well written letters and all

  • Doug Biviano

    There is power in elections. Local elected officials are more powerful than one might think. They just choose not to exercise that power in pursuit of campaign contributions from special interests like real estate developers. Library, LICH and Park and not one of our local elected officials could alter the outcome? That’s Bologna.

  • Doug Biviano

    Yeah hire Dem Party County Frank Carone and Frank Seddio like Carl McCall did for LICH…lol

  • mykelde

    haven’t been able to find out that information. when I do, I will post it. Any help or advice where to look?

  • Doug Biviano

    Well said. But unfortunately most voters don’t pay attention (vote with machines) and most eligible to vote have completely given up or are new luxury condo foreign nationals and don’t vote at all:

  • Andrew Porter

    When I Googled “NYC too tall”, the following came up:

    There have been several buildings with additions that were taller than the DOB permits allowed, or back when architects could self-certify their buildings, they tried to get away with illegally high additions. Wasn’t there a building on East 94th Street in Manhattan which ultimately had to remove several floors? This has happened numerous times. City Spire was, I recall, 11 feet higher than allowed, and lawsuits ensued.

  • Andrew Porter

    I refer the poster to the comment I made above (sorry, have watched UK Parliamentary Question Time once too often).

  • johnny cakes

    And, an honest judge. Honest Judges are very hard to find in Brooklyn. See what happened to LICH.

  • Cindy Sm

    Even if someone would agree with that
    View, what do you suggest as a better
    More effective vehicle for this neigh-
    Borhood’s interests? But be VERY
    Careful here, if you try to depose the
    BHA/BHP/ et am leadership you can
    VERY easily shortly end up with an
    Leadership while be based in a certain
    Ethnicity…not any broad based coalition
    Of the best people and minds. So be

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    And what ethnicity would that be, Cindy?

  • Boerum Bill

    Cindy’s the hero Gotham deserves!

  • Cindy sm

    Cindy’s a typical white middle American
    New York born and bred of French/
    German/English/Welsh mixture. Of
    Traditional Christian religion. And I
    Have NO loyalties to anything else
    Than God, Family and (THIS) country..

    Now..what’s YOUR background…

  • Andrew Porter

    Here’s an article just posted on Curbed NY about successful attempt to tear down a too-tall house:

    Internal links could be helpful to those interested in following this route here.

  • Cindy sm

    If you want a “better” leadership in
    The Heights that’s fine but…what
    Kind of leadership is it going to
    (Very quickly) end up with?

    Be VERY careful if you all dispose
    The casino types you can find your
    Self under even WORSE types who
    Will be almost 100% based in one
    Ethnicity. This has happened in
    A lot of neighborhoods the “reformers”
    Quickly turn into a worse small tight
    Click with either radical political
    And/or social aims or have loyalties
    Outside this country ever worse than
    Perfidious Albion like the present crowd…

  • Justine Swartz

    I am talking Turkey. Not one of our elected officials will alter the outcomes. It’s a damn shame you did not win.

  • Doug Biviano

    Why thank you Justine. I would have made it untenable for de Blasio and Cuomo in a very public way.

  • EB