Borough President Eric Adams Joins Pierhouse Fray; Park Corporation Replies

Reader and Brooklyn Heights preservation activist Martin L. Schneider has sent us a copy of a letter from Borough President Eric Adams to Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer in which Adams begins by noting that his office has

received several inquiries expressing concern about the development of the Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park and its impacts on the view-shed of New York Harbor. Members of the community have expressed their sentiment that the views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge are un-paralleled for City residents and our vast and growing number of tourists to enjoy. While my office understands that this development is integral to the sustainable operation and maintenance of Brooklyn Bridge Park, we must continue to consider neighborhood impacts and needs as this development moves forward.

The letter goes on to note that the B.P.’s office has received indications from constituents that the Pierhouse buildings exceed the height limits established in the Park’s Modified General Project Plan, and thereby interfere with views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade that the Plan intended to protect. B.P. Adams also refers to “conflicting accounts over the official status of a 2006 Design Guideline” intended to limit the height of buildings at the Pier 1 site and “whether these guidelines were formally adopted by the Board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC).”

He ends his letter by requesting “clarity” concerning (1) compliance of the Pierhouse buildings with the height restrictions established in the 2006 Modified GPP, “as well as concerns with the starting point of measurement for these height maximums”; (2) compliance of the bulkheads on Building 1 (the taller structure) “which are 23 and 30 feet in height above the 100 feet height maximum”; and (3) “[t]he official status of 2006 Design Guidelines for Pier 1.”

In its story, Curbed, quoting BuzzBuzzHome News, reports that the “eco-luxe” hotel portion of Pierhouse will take the name “1 Brooklyn Bridge Park.” How this squares with the ex-warehouse, ex-Jehovah’s Witness laundry luxury condo building near Piers 5 and 6 being called “One Brooklyn Bridge Park” remains to be seen.

Update: Brownstoner has BBPC’s reply to Adams. Thanks to reader “Reggie” for the tip.

The BBPC reply includes the following:

[T]he buildings on Parcels A and B [the Pierhouse buildings] will fully comply with the height limits in the 2006 General Project Plan (GPP). As we have discussed at numerous public meetings, the “approximately 100 feet” and “approximately 55 feet” height descriptions in the GPP are not specific, particularly in the context of construction where height can be measured many different ways, and therefore BBP and ESD [Empire State Development Corp.] determined that the Zoning Resolution most appropriately provided the specificity as to the meaning of these terms.

The BBPC letter then notes that under the Zoning Resolution building height is measured from the Base Plane, defined as the higher of two specified levels, and that under this rule the height of the building on Parcel A (Building 1 in the Adams letter) is measured from a height of 13.75 feet, meaning it can have a total height from ground level of 113.75 feet, and that of the building on Parcel 2 is measured from a height of 14.38 feet, meaning it can have a total height of 69.38 feet except for that portion of the building that lies within the boundary of the protected View Plane, which is limited to a height of 55 feet. The letter goes on to point out that under the Zoning Resolution bulkheads and mechanicals are considered “permitted obstructions” and therefore do not count against the height limit.

The letter further provides:

Finally, the 2006 design guidelines document that is referenced in your letter is a draft document that was never finalized and has no official status.

Eric Adams image: CUNY Television.

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  • Reggie
  • Carlotta

    Putting aside the legality of the NYC Zoning Regulations in regard to the BBP and the “permitted obstructions”, one can only wonder about the kind of people who are ostensibly public servants and members of the NY community at large, who can justify destroying a world class view for the sake of adding more dollars to their coffers. I pity them and their families who will have to live with the knowledge of this travesty.

  • Moni

    Thanks to 12 yrs of Bloomberg, Big RE has systematically destroyed the character of so many Manhattan neighborhoods and now it’s Bklyn’s turn. We can hope for something better from DeBlasio, but he can’t turn back the clock

  • Willow Street Watch

    The only way this real estate tulip craze stops..and that’s when one or a group of you reach in your pockets hire really good P.I.’s and lawyers and find serious violations of law, preferably federal law, and then force some, I’d rather avoid this whole issue, prosecutor, again much preferably federal U.S. attorney to take the case and make a serious effective prosecution. Believe me, if as little as two big RE let alone financial types went to jail or had to make really serious fines and it was the result of community action the area under attack would suddenly “cool off”….

    If you don’t want to reach in your pocket(s) and direct your resources/efforts as above, it’s all wasted griping by a bunch of largely worthless types,….

    And just as Franklin warned, the bankers and those who serve them now sit in their counting houses while the citizens who cleared the land and who’s toil built the cities will be vassals in the country they created…Franklin said it would take 200 years, well he was off 40 or so years but its all happening, now they call it ” “financialization” ..but its the classic end of the usury road…

    Enjoy your lives as vassals…

  • Andrew Porter

    “height can be measured many different ways…” says it all, if you want Doubletalk.

  • johnny cakes

    Regina Myer and the BBPC leaders are culturally

  • johnny cakes

    DeBlasio is a fraud. Look at what he did with LICH.

  • johnny cakes

    Is Eric Adams just another player?

  • Jean

    The more I see this development, the angrier it makes me. Walked down there the other day and it just gets bigger and bigger, more obstructive than ever. These developers have destroyed the park. Less light, more cement. I just can’t believe this was permitted – it disgusts and saddens me.