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Walentas project prepares to ‘Dock’

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A proposed middle school in DUMBO seems headed to victory even before the public-review process begins next week.

A Brooklyn Paper investigation revealed this week that the School Construction Authority has included the school, which would be part of a larger residential complex on Dock Street proposed by DUMBO titan David Walentas, in its next five-year capital plan — even before the controversial 18-story tower has its first public hearing.

“We are committed to the project at this time,” Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said of the 45,000-square-foot, 416-seat middle school that Walentas would build, then lease to the city for $1 a year.

But community leaders, including Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton, have argued that the building would block views of the Brooklyn Bridge and that the middle school is a “carrot” to get public approval for the larger project, which they oppose.

The quiet inclusion of the school in the five-year major projects budget is notable because the city has said that it did not need an additional middle school in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.

The budget revealed that the school would cost the city $43.83 million for interior walls and other construction.

As a result, opponents of the building are still on edge.

“We’re going to review the project on its merits, and we’re not going to let ourselves be distracted by the school crumb and by the developer,” Stanton said. “We understand that there have been some revisions, and we haven’t seen them, but SCA may be backing a risky venture there.”

The Dock Street project is a revised plan from an earlier bid that failed because it was bigger and closer to the historic Brooklyn Bridge. The current proposal, which would block fewer views of the fabled span, also calls to set aside 80 of the building’s 400 units as below-market-rate rentals, and use an environmentally friendly building design.

Community Board 2 and the School Construction Authority will discuss the project on Dec. 17 at a location to be determined. For info, call (718) 596-5410.

Updated 5:46 pm, November 13, 2008
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Reasonable discourse

davoyager from Heights says:
I'm sorry the BHA thinks a middle school for this area is a crumb, but for those of us with school aged children: a public middle school within walking distance is an essential. I guess their crumb is our banquet.
da
Nov. 19, 2008, 2:27 am

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