Explaining the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal

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There’s a new deal in place for building and maintaining Brooklyn Bridge Park. But it’s complicated, so let the Explainer break it down for you.

Why are state Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman hailing this deal?

The lawmakers say it could eliminate luxury condos in the park — once seen as the only way to finance the bloated maintenance budget — because the city has agreed to use future tax revenue from the currently tax-exempt Watchtower properties for the park, not normal city programs like schools and cops. If all the Watchtower buildings are sold and return to the tax rolls, no luxury housing will need to be built on Pier 6.

That’s a pretty big if, isn’t it?

Yes — and there’s a deadline. If Watchtower properties aren’t sold by 2014, the city will move forward with its controversial condos.

That’s a fast timeline for unloading properties that aren’t even zoned for residential yet, right?

True. But real-estate experts think some buildings will go on the market in two or three years, though the smaller buildings will likely be sold first.

Sounds like the politicians just kicked the can down the road, banking on a huge windfall from buildings they don’t control.

Perhaps, but Squadron got elected partly because of his promise to fight housing inside the park, so anything that trims or eliminates housing is a victory for him, even if opponents say that he’s diverting money from poor and middle class New Yorkers to fund a fancy park in a rich neighborhood.

Updated 4:59 pm, August 4, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

al from downtown says:
Correction 1: Squadron said there would be no more housing in the park. He didn't just say he would "fight it". He said no more housing in the park. He won election on that promise and he had a veto over housing, too, which convinced people he was going to make good on his promise. He did not use the veto over housing. There will be a new condo building on Pier 1 and now in the DUMBO part of the park. He lied and failed to use the one tool he had - a veto over housing.

Correction 2: "Lawmakers say it could eliminate condos..." That is spin. It may only help reduce or eliminate Pier 6 condos, not the buidling on Pier 1 or the building at John St. And the smaller Watchtower buildings will not be considered, like the ones they put on the block today - only manufacturing zoned properties that would be up-zoned. So, DUMBO loses twice.

What will people do when they wake up and see bulldozers on Pier 1, John St and eventually Pier 6 (because the numbers just do not work out to prevent housing there)? Will they remember Squadron did this to the park? He hopes they won't remember he failed to use the veto. But he will be wrong.
Aug. 5, 2011, 4:06 am

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