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A likely ‘story’: Park tower will be a bit higher than expected

The two towers planned for Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
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It doesn’t measure up!

Brooklyn Bridge Park builders are again saying one thing and delivering another now that plans they filed with the city show two parkside luxury apartment buildings have more floors than promised in June, park watchdogs claimed this week, but green space officials say there’s nothing to worry about, as the buildings will stay within their legally mandated height limits — with the exception of a 9-foot bulkhead on one of the parcels.

Plans recently filed for the two controversial towers at Pier 6 have raised the eyebrows of activists who claim park honchos have been deceptive about how many stories each building will actually rise — as they were when the Pierhouse hotel and condo complex ended up blocking protected views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

“This is the story of Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Judy Francis, president of activist group Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund “Bait and switch.”

Officials in June told the park’s board of directors — made up of elected officials, their appointees, and local stakeholders — that the towers would stand at 28 stories and 14- to 15-stories, respectively, before the board voted to approve the proposal. But last week’s filings show plans for the buildings at the foot of Atlantic Avenue topping out at 30 and 16 stories.

A park official said they were being truthful with the public and the board all along and nothing had changed since June, explaining that the extra stories will only house mechanicals and storage rooms, which he said are not considered floors — despite being labeled as such by the Department of Buildings ‚ and will not exceed height limits.

Under the terms of a 2015 settlement, the structures must stay within a 315 and 115-foot height limit — including the bulkheads and machinery on top, and the buildings adhere to the height cap, according to the filings.

But a spokeswoman for the park acknowledged that the 16-story building’s bulkhead will exceed the cap by nine feet. That is because the park asked permission to do so from the Empire State Development Corporation, which is overseeing the project — and just requesting the modification to the plan gives them the right to go higher, the park claims.

The park has run in grey area surrounding height caps in the past — a 2015 lawsuit alleged that the Pierhouse hotel at Pier 1 had blown its 100-foot height limit by adding unplanned mechanicals to the top, blocking protected views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Park honchos argued that the activists had known about the bulkheads all along, and a judge eventually threw out the case, but not before pointing out that the building looked “simply too large.”

A separate lawsuit last year claimed that the penthouse at the Pierhouse luxury condo complex was too big, once again jutting into the only legally protected scenic view in New York City. The same judge threw out that lawsuit too, saying that the case wasn’t brought forth quickly enough for him to do anything about it.

Francis claims that the latest development with the Pier 6 towers only further validates a lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association that alleges the park’s board was misled when it gave the green light to the buildings in the summer.

“The BHA’s lawsuit makes plain that the Brooklyn Bridge Park board were misinformed when they voted for housing in June, regard to everything about these buildings — heights, location, facilities, need for funding — so it is no surprise that the park is again playing games with the heights and bulks,” said Francis.

The towers will also house a gym, lounges, playroom, ground-floor retail, a so-called “dog washing station,” according to the plans.

The city said in June that a previously planned pre-kindergarten space for one of the lots would be moved to another nearby location, but has yet to reveal additional details of where the promised tot academy will be sited.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 2:23 am, October 21, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

Linda from Red Hook says:
Bulkheads are funny on 'fancy' buildings. Sooo much effort goes into these things and then blip it sprouts an afterthought. They're demonstrative of developers who are greedy for squarefeet.
Oct. 20, 2016, 1 pm
Louise from Vinegar Hill says:
Regina Myer says what? Thanks Re! Hope the $$$ are worth your bankrupt ethics and "soul" (if you ever had one, which I question.)
Oct. 21, 2016, 12:23 am
ChrisC from Park Slope says:
Build the darn things already. This stuff is all more NIMBYism from Brooklyn Heights residents who want all of the benefits of having a world class park down the hill but want none of the downside. These towers block no views, even though the article continually equates these development sites with the other hotel development that DID skirt actual zoning rules.

These buildings will be good for the park, brining more foot traffic, jobs and residents to the area. Yes I'm jealous of the Singaporean money launderers' kids who will be buying all of them with shell companies, but that's life in the big city.
Oct. 23, 2016, 2:17 pm
Ripley from Cobble Hill says:
If Brooklyn Bridge Park can't abide by their agreements then they deserve to be sued again. I just hope a different judge looks at it. What kind of judge says "it's too late to do anything about it"? Would he fail to prosecute a thief because it's too late to do anything about it?
Oct. 23, 2016, 11:03 pm
Scp from Sunset Park says:
@Ripley: yes, actually, there is something called "statute of limitations" :)
Oct. 24, 2016, 10:36 am

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