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Supermarket could come to ‘park’

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Suddenly, there’s going to be a supermarket in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The developer of One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 449-unit residential building within the 85-acre waterfront development is negotiating to get a grocery story in his building, which is at the corner of Furman and Joralemon streets and an anchor of the park plan.

Even supporters of the condo, commerical and open-space development consider a supermarket a bad idea.

“I don’t think it’s the most complimentary business for the park,” said Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association.

Planners’ original dream of a waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue has morphed into a revenue-generating enterprise under a state mandate that the site’s maintenance budget come from economic activity on the site rather than from the state’s general treasury.

As a result, park planners added in condos into the park’s footprint. Fees on residents of those condominiums — and taxes collected at their supermarket — are supposed to cover the maintenance costs.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park supermarket won’t be just another bodega, promised Ian Levine, a spokesman for the building’s owner, Robert A. Levine.

“Our initial push is for a high-end market with prepared food,” Levine said. Then, referring to the park’s self-financing mandate, he added, “Unfortunat­ely, the park wouldn’t come to fruition without us.”

Still, the pronouncement reinvigorated the controversy around Brooklyn Bridge Park and renewed criticism of the funding scheme that, supporters say, makes it all possible.

“Parks should not be self-sustaining,” said Ken Baer, chair of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. “They are public amenities. All the land within the park should be devoted to recreational space.”

But they are fighting a losing battle, because the city and state have signed off on the plans, though a lawsuit is pending. Demoliton within the footprint is set to begin as early as this week, as the Purchase Building, a historic structure beneath the Brooklyn Bridge will be knocked down.

Levine said the developer of One Brooklyn Bridge Park — which until it changed its name to the more-chic sounding address was known as the former Jehovah’s Witness printing plant at 360 Furman St. — is also looking to add two restaurants for riverfront dining, a gallery or special events venue and small shops to the building.

Unlike Stanton, other supporters of the park and its financing scheme will tolerate the presence of a supermarket — to a point.

“We realize that ground-floor retail in the development parcels will need to strike a careful balance between that which serves park visitors and that which serves primarily building residents,” said Marianna Koval, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.

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Reader Feedback

Charles from Brooklyn says:
The Watchtower Jehovah's Witnesses moved upstate to await Armageddon and are now we have real property tax payers back in.
Jan. 10, 2008, 6:29 pm
Dr. Carl Gruber from Brooklyn Heights says:
I wasn't sure about this whole thing when I was first made aware of it. But I must confess that, after actually visiting the place with my niece (who was amazed by the views of lower Manhattan from the higher floors): This is a first rate development. These are truly gorgeous apartments, plain and simple.
And we get a beautiful, new park and open space thrown in? What's everybody complaining about?
Jan. 10, 2008, 8:08 pm
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
What's next? A Costco on Central Park's Great Lawn? An Old Nayv in Prospect Park's Boathouse?

Parks are for the public, and we pay taxes, and plenty of them, to support such public amenities. We don't require private developments or sports arenas to be self-sustaining, so why ruin this potentially fantastic waterfront park with private housing and commerical development?
Jan. 11, 2008, 11:56 am
Julia McMann from DUMBO says:
Here they go again! When will the proponents of private housing inside Brooklyn Bridge "Park" understand that private housing is the reason there is no "park" and everything else that follows from that original premise serve to reinforce the fact that this is no longer a public park? That Ms. Stanton and Ms. Koval are now questioning the "park friendly" aspects of a grocery store is the biggest joke of this new year! And how do they feel about Fresh Direct deliveries or UPS truck deliveries inside this public park? Or the fact that all year round recreation was stripped from this new "park" plan because people living inside public parks don't want a lot of non-dwellers wrecking " their" lawns and making noise around their homes? The original deal for Brooklyn Bridge Park was for park friendly services to help sustain the park. Operative words: park friendly and help. Park friendly revenue producers would be concessions, an events venue like Shakespeare in the Park, for pay recreation, parking and philanthropy - all revenue generators no longer considered for this "park" because of the very foolish idea to pay for everything, in perpetuity, with private housing. It ain't a park with private housing inside of it, so why fuss about a grocery store? Bad public policy that has led to further bad ideas that make the whole thing very bad for the future of all public parks.
Jan. 11, 2008, 12:31 pm
PJ Jimenez from Columbia St District says:
Another cash cow for some rich developer who has his own key to city hall.I guess there won't be a hotdog guy at the park.
Jan. 15, 2008, 5:08 pm
Sonia Collins from Brooklyn Heights says:
Is this a done deal? It is getting very tiring to oppose all the plans that give public space away to private enterprise. A supermarket? Does that mean that there will be lots of housing there too? Parks need healthy sports and leisure stuff for the public, not more opportunities for connected businesses.
Jan. 17, 2008, 12:06 pm
nabe from brooklyn heights says:
I mean, the Heights already has three good food markets - do we really need another one?
Jan. 17, 2008, 8:24 pm

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