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Report: Brooklyn Bridge Park has plenty of money, doesn’t need Pier 6 towers • Brooklyn Paper

Report: Brooklyn Bridge Park has plenty of money, doesn’t need Pier 6 towers

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

Brooklyn Bridge Park is flush with cash and doesn’t need to build any more luxury housing to finance its waterfront green space, according to a series of new reports released on Monday.

The reports from real-estate appraisers and marine engineers claim the park will reap some $800 million in extra moolah over the next 50 years, proving it doesn’t need to construct its controversial planned towers at Pier 6 — or any other buildings — according to the local activists who commissioned the studies.

“These reports cast significant doubt on whether any development at Pier 6 is necessary for Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to achieve its financial objectives,” says a letter from the leaders of civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association, and activist groups People for Green Space and Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund to the park’s board of directors.

Parks honchos say they need to build high-rises on the lot to pay for “preventative” maintenance of the 1950s timber piles that hold the pier up but are being slowly eaten away by tiny crustaceans called marine borers — a plan its own engineering experts say will save money in the long run.

But the new analysis by marine engineering outfit Goldenrod Blue Associates says that is a waste of time and money — it could save $90 million by tackling the borers with regular inspections like those conducted on the Lake Pontchartrain bridges in Louisiana, which are also held up with timber pillars, the firm says.

The study also claims a July 2015 report on the park’s finances used a model inconsistent with Department of Finance methodology to determine its revenue for the next half-century, resulting in estimates that vastly undervalue its future spending money.

The park will haul in $22.5 million annually from the stores, office buildings, hotel, and housing it has already built, rather than the $13.5 million it is predicting, according to appraiser Rosin and Associates.

And it will become more apparent the park is rolling in dough when the tax revenue comes in next year, claims an activist and financial analyst who assessed the studies. He claims projections based on the Rosen report show the open space will have some $800 million in cash to splash over the next 50 years.

“It will be very obvious that there’s no need to develop Pier 6,” said Henry Richmond, who lives in a condominium in the park and is head of the People for Green Space Foundation. “It’s going to be undeniable the park is going to generate excess amounts of money.”

A rep for the park says it is still looking at the reports, but maintains that it needs to build at Pier 6 to stop the docks from disappearing down the guts of tiny bugs. It also stands by its projections, which she says are based on the taxes of condominium buildings in the area surrounding the park — an approach the Department of Finances doesn’t take when looking into returns.

“While some may never accept it, we’ve exhaustively demonstrated that the Pier 6 project is essential to the park’s long-term financial stability,” said spokeswoman Belinda Cape, noting the marine engineering expert the activists hired is not an expert in wood pilings. “To put the financial future of a park enjoyed by millions at risk — as these groups advocate — is simply unacceptable.”

Park honchos are currently awaiting approval for construction on towers from the Empire State Development — a quasi-government state agency in charge of overseeing development in the park — though it has stalled its vote following locals’ objections, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

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

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