Brooklyn Bridge Park officials have brushed aside a demand by local elected officials to allow public scrutiny of a raft of proposals to turn the old Tobacco Warehouse into an arts and community center.
Last month, state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Boerum Hill), Borough President Markowitz and others demanded that Regina Myer, the president of the park development company, reveal the names of companies seeking the Tobacco Warehouse renovation contract.
But Myer, who had promised transparency in the bidding process, declined to cough up the bids, worrying some locals that the Tobacco Warehouse project will fail to generate enough revenue for the park’s annual maintenance budget to allow park developers to abandon their plan to include housing inside the sprawling park.
Myer said that the bidders would be revealed on Nov. 15 — before she and the board of directors picks a winner. But the elected officials say that such a timetable won’t leave enough time to fully vet the proposals. And Myer did not say whether the public will have input over her and the board’s selection.
That didn’t satisfy Squadron.
“The responses need to be released immediately so that the public has time to look over them,” he said on Tuesday.
At issue — besides the park development’s ongoing battle with its own promise of transparency — is the Tobacco Warehouse, a restoration project that will house arts, education and civic tenants, yet not add to the $15-millon annual maintenance budget of the larger waterfront development.
Critics say that the decision to take the Tobacco Warehouse out of the revenue column likely means that housing — which Myer vowed to find alternatives to — will remain part of the plan.