Greenpoint boat club mutinies from would-be first mate

Slippery when westuit: North Brooklyn Boat Club member Klaus Rosburg gets ready to take a kayak out for a paddle at the club’s temporary storage-container headquarters.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A Newtown Creek boating group backed out of a plan to build a boathouse in an industrial space along the foul channel and will set up shop in free digs at a movie production facility instead, angering their would-be landlord who wanted to collect rent on the aquatic outpost.

The North Brooklyn Boat Club wants to make its headquarters in the planned Broadway Stages film-shoot complex rather than the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, the head of which said he got cut out of the deal abruptly despite being a formal partner on the group’s grant application that netted $3 million in public funds. The aggrieved honcho aired his hard feelings at a hearing on questions about the club’s finances on Wednesday.

“We were cut out with no formal notice,” said the industrial developer’s chief executive officer Brian Coleman. “Is this what the community voted for? Is this what is best for the community?”

Coleman wanted too much money for the waterfront plot, which floods, and worried the building lacked the proper permits to house the education programs the paddlers want to conduct, according to club founder and harbor master Dewey Thompson.

The boat club has been operating out of a shipping container on the Broadway Stages lot at 51 Ash St. since last year, when the media company offered it free rent after talks fell apart with Coleman’s outfit, the club’s skipper said.

“Over the past two years, we failed to come to an agreement with GMDC,” said Thompson.

The mariners contended that Greenpoint Manufacturing was only on the forms as a possible landlord, not a partner, and a state spokeswoman agreed, saying at the hearing that the club had the right to look elsewhere for boat-housing when negotiations collapsed.

As for concerns raised by the blog New York S—– about public money going to finance the construction of the private film facility, the state rep said the city and state will be watching it like a hawk eyeing a seal bathing on the banks of the noxious inlet. But so far, no plan has been committed to paper and the $39,000 spent on architects has been accounted for, so there is nothing to scrutinize, according to those involved.

“We do not have specifics on how we will do that yet, because there is no formal proposal yet, but we will be very careful,” said Michelle Moore, an environmental analyst for the state.

Thompson said he hopes the boathouse will be open by 2016.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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