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Activists: City figures show Bridge Park is way undervaluing its properties • Brooklyn Paper

Activists: City figures show Bridge Park is way undervaluing its properties

Tower play: These are the towers Brooklyn Bridge Park honchos plan to erect near Pier 6.
ODA/RAL Development Services / Oliver’s Realty Group

They’re right on the money.

A new Department of Finance report shows Brooklyn Bridge Park stands to rake in $300 million more from private development than it originally projected, claim activists — and locals say the figures vindicate their long-contested allegations that the park doesn’t need to erect any more housing to cover its costs.

“We knew that we were right and, big surprise, we were right,” said Judi Francis, president of advocacy group Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund.

Private buildings in the waterfront meadow pay the park an annual tax based on their value, which is calculated by the Department of Finance, and park honchos use that cash to pay for its upkeep.

But the numbers projected in the park’s budget are well below the agency’s latest valuations, influential local civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association claims in new court filings.

In what it describes as the most “graphic” illustration of the disparity, the park’s budget values the new luxury Pierhouse condo complex at $147 per square foot — but the Department of Finance’s latest calculations say it is actually worth $230 per square foot, the group says.

Across the whole park’s development, the agency’s latest valuations show it will reap $300 million more than it initially anticipated over the next 50 years, the civic council estimates.

The association is suing the quasi-private organization that runs the green space to stop two controversial new towers at Pier 6, claiming it is violating an agreement that it will only allow the minimum amount of development in the park necessary to cover maintenance costs.

One of the group’s key arguments is that the park’s bean-counters have undervalued Pierhouse to justify going ahead with the additional apartment blocks.

The park’s board members approved the towers last summer, even though opponents at the time argued that they should wait until the finance department’s assessments for the 2018 fiscal year came out in January for a more accurate picture of the park’s finances and Pierhouse’s true value.

Now the critics have been vindicated, Francis says.

“There’s absolutely no need for more housing,” she said. “There’s an incredible necessity for more parkland and this is the place to do it.”

By way of response, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation offered only a statement that said the Heights Association’s claims are wrong and that the Pier 6 project is needed.

“We have repeatedly made clear the necessity and merits of this project, and look forward to responding to the BHA’s erroneous claims in court,” said David Lowin, the park’s interim president.

Francis said the statement reminded her of another president.

“That’s pretty damn pathetic that they could possibly be fighting this reality,” she said. “Their response is Trumpian and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

The case will go to court on March 6.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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