The Bloomberg administration wants to pull the plug on plans for a massive power plant on Brooklyn’s northern waterfront and is pushing ahead with its own plans for a 28-acre park surrounding the Bushwick Inlet by condemning the property parcel by parcel.
Using eminent domain, the city snatched up two pieces of land to the southeast of the proposed plant in September — a signal to energy giant TransGas that it is still unwelcome on that waterfront.
TransGas owns an eight-acre piece of land between North 12th and North 14th streets — within the city’s planned park — stretching from the waterfront to Kent Avenue. The company has been planning to build a $2-billion, 1,100-megawatt power plant there since 2001, and the company’s president has made some unusual offers to entice the city allow it.
But Bloomberg has a vision for that waterfront, and it doesn’t include a power plant.
The mayor didn’t budge when TransGas offered to build the plant underground so the city could still develop its park on top of the invisible plant.
TransGas President Adam Victor says he understands the city’s desire to build a park on the inlet, but says he’s baffled as to why the administration has created a false dilemma by suggesting that the land can only be used for one purpose.
“It doesn’t have to be a choice between my power plant and the city’s park, we can do both,” Victor told The Brooklyn Paper, “But we need a power plant on that waterfront more than we need a park because the old infrastructure is starting to fail and it can’t support the energy needs of New York City. [The power outages] in Queens last summer were just the tip of the iceberg, if we don’t replace our infrastructure we’re going to have widespread, prolonged blackouts.”
But the mayor isn’t interested.
The administration, which says new housing is its top priority, also refused when the company offered up $50 million to pay for 1,000 units of below-market-rate housing on the site.
Two years ago, when the mayor was pushing hard to build a West Side football and Olympic stadium, Victor made a $700-million bid to buy the subway rail yard where the stadium would have been built — but only if he got to build his power plant in Williamsburg. Bloomberg rebuffed those advances, too.
A mayoral spokesman declined to comment for this article.
But the city’s efforts at Bushwick Inlet speak for themselves. The mayor has turned up the heat on TransGas by grabbing nearby land, including a slice immediately adjacent to TransGas’s site. The city has been trying to get that piece of land since 2004, but the condemnation process is being held up in court, according to a Parks Department spokesman.