A public hearing on the proposed 31- and 15-story residential towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park will be held this Thursday, July 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. at St. Francis College, Founders Hall, 180 Remsen Street.
The addition of the two towers has galvanized intense opposition from groups including the Brooklyn Heights Association, who say the project has not been proven necessary to support the park financially.
The city is making a major push to build the towers, one of which will include affordable housing, an issue of paramount importance to Mayor Bill de Blasio. The chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. (BBPC) is Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, a former Goldman Sachs executive charged with carrying out de Blasio’s affordable housing mandate.
Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) wants to modify the park’s Modified General Project Plan (MGPP) to allow the inclusion of affordable housing, and to possibly eliminate the requirement that the Pier 6 development be required to support the park financially.
The modifications would also allow BBP directors to shift the number of residential units between towers, placing all of the affordable units in the shorter rental building; and allow closure of a “loop road” running past the site.
On July 15, Community Board 2 approved this modification to the MGPP, but added a provision making it clear that any development must be proven necessary to sustain the park’s finances.
Park officials maintain that the Pier 6 development is financially necessary to fund the park. At two recent meetings, the BBPC board presented updated financial figures to bolster this contention.
But those opposed to the towers at Pier 6 point to the park board’s “lack of transparency” with finances – a complaint also made by Comptroller Scott Stringer — and note than a report by an independent economist has not even come out yet.
On June 25, directors of the Empire State Development Corp. (ESD) left the door open to consideration of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the development.
Community groups, officials and local residents had testified that an SEIS should be required in light of the exploding development, overcrowded schools and changed conditions in Brooklyn since the original EIS was issued 10 years ago.
Public comments at Thursday’s hearing will not be limited to the park’s proposed MGPP modifications. If members of the public want to comment on the need for an SEIS, “they are free to do so,” ESD Director Joyce Miller said.