DOB Issues Partial Stop Work Order on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pierhouse

According to sources familiar with the situation, the NYC Department of Buildings has issued a partial stop work order regarding construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pierhouse. This SWO applies to the second portion of the building that has recently begun construction and not the first portion which topped out earlier this month. The request was made by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation after concerns were raised that the new portion would not comply with The Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District (SV-1) restrictions. That part of the building does sit within the view plane whereas the finished portion of the Pierhouse does not.

YIMBY, a pro-development site, writes this morning:

To that end, the DOB has issued a partial stop work order on the southern building (halting work on and above the second floor slab), which lies within the protected view plan, while the developer checks with the department to make sure the plans comply with the scenic view zoning.

“Minor adjustments such as the alteration of bulkheads or parapets are among the type of alterations that may be necessary to bring the structure into full compliance,” according to a Brooklyn Bridge Park official…

A DOB decision will hopefully be coming shortly, so that work can resume on bringing more apartments to this desperately supply-constrained city.

In a statement to BHB, BBP President Regina Myer says, “We take our responsibility to protect the Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District very seriously, and we will take aggressive action against any encroachment upon the protected view plane from the Promenade. This partial stop work order will ensure nothing is built that will impact these views until the Department of Buildings approves plans for the southern building. We will continue to monitor construction closely to ensure all requirements are adhered to.”

Brownstoner adds that an official record of the SWO is currently unavailable.

The petition started by the grassroots group, Save the View Now is rapidly approaching 5,000 signatures. They issued this statement Wednesday (1/28) afternoon:

Save the View Now is grateful to the NYC Department of Buildings for quickly investigating our concerns and issuing a stop work order for 130 Furman Street until construction plans that meet the SV-1 regulation are submitted. We also thank Senator Squadron for requesting that the DOB expedite the review of the complaint filed on Wednesday January 21, after our meeting with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp, about the current plans.

Save The View Now further expects the BBPC to honor their commitment that the maximum building height for the entire building located at 130 Furman (Parcel B) will be no higher than the 55′ including any bulkheads– as was stated in the GPP, the FEIS and the Parks’ Design Guidelines.

“We are relieved that the Department of Buildings has taken important steps to ensure the construction at 130 Furman will continue only after plans are submitted that show compliance with SV-1, “said Steven Guterman, President of Save the View Now, “BBPC and Toll Brothers must now address the major deviations relative to the original plans that exist with the Pierhouse hotel complex located on Parcel A.” The current construction on Parcel A is both significantly taller and closer to the Promenade than what was agreed to by the public in 2005/2006 and even 2011. These deviations have seriously compromised the views from the Promenade and surrounding area in complete disregard of the promise to fully protect the views. Any review of the Plans will show that the hotel complex does not conform to the specification written into the above mentioned documents.

However, as noted in the first paragraph of this post, the stop work order for Parcel B was issued pursuant to a request by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, not pursuant to Save The View Now’s request, which was rejected by the DOB.

In a Gothamist guest post today, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund’s (remember them?) Judi Francis writes:

The views are most obviously compromised from inside the park, and from other vantage points in Brooklyn to the north and south of the Bridge as well. The Development Corporation worked hard to take down a landmarked building in the north end of the park to “open up views to the river” so, following this same logic, why wouldn’t Ms. Myer have worked equally hard to take down the Cold Storage buildings to open up views to the Bridge—again, a Bridge for which this park is named?

Ignoring community visionaries who developed and advocated for the park over 30 years in order to serve the interests of real estate developers (and, some would say, self-interests of Park Board members who have recently bought into this complex), has been the undoing of what could have, and should have been NYC’s greatest-ever park. It is now a lovely walkway to gaze into people’s new living rooms, view the harbor and the other side of the East River’s built environment, looking away from the magnificent Bridge, but no longer at its complete span.

Ms. Myer and the BBP Board have pulled off one of the greatest cons of all time—one that has tempted and beguiled swindlers for generations the world over: they found a Bridge and they sold it.


Photo: Carrie Hamilton via Facebook

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  • Justine Swartz

    Yes! What the City needs and is in short supply are 2 Million dollar apartments for the wealthy. By all means the NYC Dept. Of Buildings
    should once again turn a blind eye and give permission to resume work on the Pierhouse.
    The filthy rich are only 1% of our population and DOB will bend over backwards to accommodate this powerful minoritiy.

  • johnny cakes

    Knock it all down. Jail RaGina.

  • johnny cakes 2

    Knock down the park as well? Building should comply with regulations, but no building, no park, pretty simple.

  • gc

    How about a park like all out other city parks? One that doesn’t fill the coffers of the real estate interests and their political toadies.

  • Arch Stanton

    Yep, believe what you have been told, now go drink your Koolaid.

  • Jorale-man

    This seems like a hopeful sign. Hard to know what the inner politics are but it suggests the City isn’t completely oblivious to people’s concerns. We shall see.

  • johnny cakes

    Arch, is that really you? Or Mr. Crusty, aka Joe A?

  • johnny cakes

    The 1% donates 99% of the grease money to the pols. Corruption wins every time. The DOB people are appointed, they have obligations for their salaries. Don’t expect the DOB to protect the community’s interest. They won’t. They will protect their jobs, and follow orders.

  • Arch Stanton

    Ther is only one Arch Stanton. BTW Monroe Orange, what’s up with the “Johnny cakes” handle?

  • Moni

    Wish it weren’t true Jonny Cakes but you’re 100% correct.. The dirty deed is done and forevermore our hearts will sink when we look toward the glitzy eyesore blocking the Bridge. This is just one little example of what Reagan’s “trickle down” revolution, income inequality and Citzens United have wrought.

  • ujh

    Many of you continue to ignore the fact that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which works at the behest of the mayor and calls the shots. Regina Myer’s responsibilities are to carry out the EDC’s orders and get the park built; she does not set policy.
    The majority of the BBP directors are the mayor’s appointees. Potential policy disagreements among them are ironed out away from the public’s eye. The politicians (or their representatives) on the board have opposed some policies and decisions, at least in public meetings, because they want to show their constituents that they are “fighting” for them by opposing that which these constituents find objectionable.
    It’s sad that Regina continues to be demonized by individuals who don’t understand who guides this park’s development.
    I admit it’s disconcerting to see the horizon’s width shrinking before our eyes, but we should look forward (and westward) to appreciate what we never had while the land was the property of the Port Authority of NY and NJ, the NY Dock Company and the City of New York..

  • SJ Plaxo

    The park is not funded by the public. But the disingenuous behavior of developers is appalling.

    Replacing the eyesore of rotting docks with the back of a condo development is not a good deal for the public, even if the park is pretty nice.

  • Jorale-man

    One cultural-historical footnote to the building of the Pierhouse, this famous view from Woody Allen’s Manhattan no longer exists today:

  • johnny cakes

    So, you are saying that Regina just acts as a paid stooge. And she earns her money the old fashioned way. Right?

    In the old days… the public could see the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade. The developers stole that from you. Regina enabled them to steal, and ruin the public’s trust in government. She should have stopped it from happening, but she didn’t.

  • johnny cakes

    The real crooks are hiding under Regina’s skirt. She’s laughing all the way coming and going to the bank. Haven’t you seen the smirk on her face?

  • Martin L Schneider

    We all must be very, very aware that the current stop work order was requested by BBPC. Reading Myer’s minimization of its significance means that this is a PR ploy to distract attention from the main issue, diffuse the focus on the actual obstruction of the view, and confuse the View Plane issue with the Pearsall understandings of 2005 which were separate and apart from the VP.
    It reminds us of the Marx Brothers great joke, “Are you going to believe me, or are you going to believe your lying eyes?” Except that the loss of these views is no joke. .

  • MonroeOrange

    i am not johnny cakes…i only use one name…unlike you..who seems to have multiple.

    Say hi to Judy for me!