State Scuttles Pier Six Towers Plan; Park Execs Got Hefty Raises

Politico New York reports that the Empire State Development Corporation, controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and with authority over development at Brooklyn Bridge Park, has decided not to approve a proposed modification to the Park’s plan that would have allowed construction of two residential towers, including a substantial affordable housing component and a space for a pre-school.

It is important to note that this does not mean that no residential towers may be built on the sites near the Pier Six entrance; it merely disapproves the proposed modification to the plan. It leaves the original plan, calling for two residential towers, in place. Its practical effect is to send the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation back to square one, needing to seek another developer or developers with new plans fitting the original Park plan.

According to the Politico story, the ESDC’s thumbs-down was because of the ongoing warfare between Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The story quotes “three sources involved in the deal” as saying the disapproval followed revelation of the donation made by the developers and their lobbyist to Mayor de Blasio’s “Campaign One New York”.

In another Park related matter, Crain’s reports that Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation executives “received raises as high as nearly 50% between 2013 and 2014″. The Crain’s story points out that these new salaries, approved during the Bloomberg administration, are “roughly in line with those of counterparts at the city Department of Parks and Recreation and other organizations.” However, the story also notes that “the {Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation] board did not appear to have discussed the raises in any public meetings”; although a Park spokesperson is quoted as saying “the compensation was approved as part of the [Park Corporation’s] operating budget in a public meeting.”

Crain’s also quotes Dick Dadey, head of Citizens Union and a member of the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, an organization independent of the BBPC, as saying that an organization such as BBPC must be “transparent about wages”, and that this is especially important when it is “under attack” over funding needs.

Update: Financial analyst and One Brooklyn Bridge Park resident Ren Richmond, a director of People for Green Space Foundation, an organization that has fought to prevent residential development at Pier Six in order to provide more park space, has given us this statement:

The community and its elected officials were blind-sided by a back room deal between the City and a big money developer. The deal fell apart when questions were asked about some of the developer’s incestuous relationships that just do not pass muster.

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  • HereToStay

    Until the safety of the park is settled, I don’t think any other buildings should be approved – affordable housing or not. The thought of adding MORE people to the mess in the Park is just not a good idea…

  • PositiveBuilding

    Actually, more residents who paid in excess of 1MM for their residence would bring more attention to park safety.