The city and the developer of a wall of luxury apartments on the Greenpoint waterfront are holding a long-promised city park for ransom with their claim that they will only make the greenspace nice if two new towers are allowed to rise alongside it, neighbors said at a community meeting Tuesday night.
The city had promised to build — and said it had money to fund — a park at the end of Box Street near Newtown Creek, but construction of the park stumbled many times since it was proposed as part of the massive 2005 Williamsburg-Greenpoint rezoning.
Now residents are angered that the park’s construction has been tethered to the new 77 Commercial Street project between Box and Clay streets that includes two 30-story towers housing a total of 720 apartments, and even though developers are promising more park space, some neighbors say they do not want the buildings at all.
“We’d rather get less [park space] and not take the trade-off,” Greenpointer Katie Naplatarski said.
Under the proposed plan, developers Waterview at Greenpoint would spend millions of dollars to upgrade the nearby Newtown Barge Park and build the Box Street park, according to city representatives. If the tower plan goes through, both parks will be completed in 2016, according to the city.
But residents are wondering what happened to the money that the city put aside to build the park years ago.
“There was funding for [the park] and it disappeared,” said said Kim Masson, who lives across the street from 77 Commercial Street in a loft building. “It will be there again.”
Representatives of the city and the development company, Waterview at Greenpoint, did not respond directly to the criticism.
The grilling came on the heels of an even larger and more unruly community board meeting held to discuss the behemoth Greenpoint Landing project.
If the city approves both developments as proposed, more than 6,000 apartment units will loom over the Newtown Creek end of the neighborhood — a fact that concerns some Greenpointers.
“The population increase will be staggering,” Masson said.
Neighbors also expressed concerns about toxins that could be lying in wait at the 77 Commercial site — as well as the Greenpoint Landing site — since the city has not conducted an environmental impact study on those sites in nearly a decade.
The community board will vote on both projects on Sept. 9, but those votes are only advisory and have little bearing on whether the projects will ultimately be built. The 77 Commercial Street complex does not have a projected completion date, according to the developer.