Shuttle to ‘nowhere’?

The Brooklyn Paper
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Add another perk to the list of sweeteners that the developers of the struggling One Brooklyn Bridge Park condo have doled out: now, residents in the tough-to-reach building have a free shuttle to Borough Hall.

The building, a 449-unit former Jehovah’s Witnesses publishing facility, is eight blocks up a steep hill from the multitude of trains at Borough Hall and even further from the subway at Clark Street.

“We wanted to further enhance the residents’ ability to get around Brooklyn Heights,” said a one of the building’s developers, Ian Levine. “These subways are obviously a very important part of our residents’ and prospective buyers’ needs … and to facilitate those needs is just to bring that level of ease and accessibility to [the building].”

The developers quietly rolled out the new bright orange bus two weeks ago to take residents to and from the subways at Borough Hall and Trader Joe’s grocery store.

On weekdays, the shuttle will loop from the building to Borough Hall and Clark Street from 7 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 7 pm. On weekends, it will run continuously from 10 am to 6 pm and add a stop at Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, Levine said.

The private shuttle must follow regular bus traffic rules, but could apply for its own bus stops on city streets, a Transportation Department spokesman said.

“The city has added bus stops for such services in the past, and there’s a review process,” said the spokesman, Scott Gastel. “We won’t regulate [the private bus] industry, but looking at the overall traffic considerations in the area and overall need, we evaluate these types of requests.”

The shuttle’s debut comes as developers have admitted in recent weeks that sales at the building are slowing, and have started other “concessions” to entice buyers and close deals, including paying closing costs and helping buyers with financing options.

Nearly two-thirds of the units in the building are unsold, said another lead developer, Robert A. Levine.

“There’s no hiding the reality that sales have slowed down, and we’re not going to kid ourselves about that,” Levine had told The Brooklyn Paper.

Developers also started a new marketing effort this week to fill the building’s 75,000 square feet of retail space. Ian Levine said he hopes to lease space to a high-end market and restaurants.

Updated 5:19 pm, November 26, 2008
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