Toll Brothers bulding in Brooklyn Bridge Park too tall, opponents say

View-blocking bulkhead bashed

The Historic Districts Council is the latest group to demand this building in Brooklyn Bridge Park not be more than 100 feet high. The group claims the structure is already 30 feet too tall.
The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The developers of an apartment and hotel complex lied when they said their building in the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park would not be more than 100 feet tall, and the new structure is now blocking the views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a prominent preservationist group proclaimed this week.

Members of the Historic Districts Council, which has been helping preserve historic structures and acquire landmark designations throughout the city since 1971, say developer Toll Brothers has already exceeded the height limit — which was agreed upon before construction of its Pierhouse began — by 30 feet, and park administrators responsible for overseeing development are ignoring the oversight.

“Agreements struck with the public after extensive negotiations and codified into the projects should be adhered to,” the Council said in a statement.

Activists have also started an online petition demanding that Mayor DeBlasio, Gov. Cuomo, Borough President Adams, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, all of whom play a role in the park’s development, bring the building back down to size.

“How did this happen?” the Council wrote. “Why aren’t the agreements reached with the public being adhered to?”

But the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which has been fending off criticism about the building’s height since last year when it topped out at about 135 feet from the ground, insists that the height limit does not include the building’s bulkhead, and never did. It recently posted a detailed explanation of the project’s height on its website, where it lays out the logic behind the limit not applying to the rooftop machinery and planned bar.

“Upon consultation with Empire State Development Corporation, the decision was made to permit rooftop mechanical equipment to exceed the 100-foot height limit provided that it fit the definition of a ‘Permitted Obstruction’ in the NYC Zoning Resolution,” the group wrote.

The Council calls this argument bunk, claiming developers aren’t playing by the rules.

“The special height cap for this project overrides local zoning,” the Historic District Council statement says. “This means that the rooftop mechanicals are required to fall within the cap, for a total height of 100 feet. Breaching this agreement means a 35 percent taller building, which in turn means the unanticipated blocked views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.”

The preservationist heavyweights, who say they have been involved in the fights for all 110 of the officially designated historic districts in the city, are adding to the chorus of concerned residents that include the venerated Brooklyn Heights Association and a group formed for the cause called “Save the View Now.” The city issued a partial stop-work order for another building in the planned three-building project last month, when park administrators asked Toll Brothers to make sure its plans for that portion will not obstruct any protect views.

When asked to respond to the Historic Districts Council’s statement, the quasi-governmental agency in charge of the park reiterated its view on the hotel, saying it will be a cash cow for the private green space.

“Pierhouse maintains all officially protected promenade views, is consistent with designs presented to the community to favorable response in 2013, and will provide critical funding to keep the park safe and well-maintained for millions of visitors for years to come,” a Brooklyn Bridge Park spokeswoman said.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
why don't they raise the heights, and everyone wins?
Feb. 17, 2015, 11:31 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
"Critical funding to keep the park safe and well-maintained." What a load of BS (excuse the acronym). Nice to know the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. and Toll Brothers cares very little about Brooklyn. And we were all told by the Supreme Court corporations were people ...
Feb. 17, 2015, 2:01 pm
BH from Brooklyn says:
These are not mutually exclusive. You have the "funding", respect the height requirements of the previous agreements and maintain integrity and decency all at the same time.
Feb. 17, 2015, 5:30 pm
GreenGenes from former Heights says:
Some day the people of Brooklyn will start electing people who are not beholden to real estate developers and laws will pass empowering the community to control local zoning. The community will have the power to say no.

From someone who tried.
Feb. 17, 2015, 7:53 pm
BB from BHeights says:
“Upon consultation with Empire State Development Corporation, the decision was made to permit rooftop mechanical equipment to exceed the 100-foot height limit…"

Bottom line is this is NOT at its core a PARK (whatever park amenities it may offer — and there are wonderful amenities and it is largely a wonderful park) -- is is a politically non-responsive ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT project and no one in Brooklyn Heights has ANY standing to challenge ANYTHING about it.

Turning this site over to a development-bedfellow self-dealing economic-development entity was asking for trouble. The park masters can and will do WHATEVER they please and their neighbors be damned. Be assured, this is only the beginning.

Those who thought their views (literally) and other sensibilities would be respected were, and are, suckers. Tough luck.
Feb. 17, 2015, 9:19 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
There are bigger problems in the city to deal with than 30 foot height disputes. Be happy this high end development funded a magnificent park. Without high end development, there is no money for the parks. Your mayor would rather spend money subsidizing housing than funding green space. Ask Williamsburgers how that funding is going for their promised park.
Feb. 17, 2015, 10:52 pm
Judahspechal from Bedstuy says:
This & Bushwick Inlet Park. Why do we keep falling for political scams?
Feb. 18, 2015, 12:17 pm
Rob from Park Slope says:
This ruins the character of the Promenade. Please tear this building down. Please halt construction.
March 8, 2015, 8:36 pm
Rob from Park Slope says:
I've looked at the attached diagram. Why doesn't the 100 ft. agreement from 2005 show how it would sit in front of the Brooklyn Bridge ? 6 or 7 stories from the picture looks like all that can be allowed to maintain the integrity of this Magnificent Landmark.

It seems like even if we get the developer to dismantle to the 2005 agreed level that the view will still be obstructed. Have we all been Bamboozled?

Heads up to the developer, the community board, and the supposed Politicians that look out for the interest of all, don't make people resent this park. Limit the height of this building to some 6 to 7 stories (At its current height - it's an eye sore). According to my perspective that is the only height that will maintain the pristine view from the backyard of our home.
March 8, 2015, 8:54 pm
Judy peace from bklyn heights says:
how can these people with all their money not have the foresight to protect the future the views the Statue of Liberty and interests of the people this is not progress this is distruction!!! boards and committees councils and supervisors it's all money money money when will any of them learn. when will any of those money hungry people actually I don't really think they are people consider the lives and futures of their grandchildren and those of others to come? shame shame shame!!! and I was born and raised here this is a crime and a sin!! The reality of this and hopefully it will stop actually makes me cry. listen to the people has the world not learned from its past listen to the people.
Aug. 23, 2015, 6:17 pm
ron from bklyn heights says:
i've lived and loved Brooklyn Heights for the last 55 years and I am ashamed and disgusted at what the " committees and those officials" are allowing to take place in our lovely community. People come from all over the world to see the sights these views the bridges Statue of Liberty. is it not enough that we lost our beautiful twin towers to terrorism? do we now have our own citizens and elected officials destroying what could never ever be replaced? how do these people even sleep at night absolutely disgraceful!!! now and quickly must this insanity come to an end. it is long overdue and time to come to an end people need to have compassion and care about the future and not only care about lining their pockets with silver!!!!
Aug. 23, 2015, 6:26 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: