Yes to Dock St project

The Brooklyn Paper
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David Walentas, who almost single-handedly converted a waterfront warehouse district beneath the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges into a thriving neighborhood of art studios, craftspeople, Mom-and-Pop stores and residents, wants to continue the momentum by building a 325-unit residential building on empty land along Dock Street in DUMBO.

The project is under intense fire from Councilman David Yassky and a community group from outside the neighborhood because the structure includes an 18-story wing that the opponents say will block views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

These critics are wrong.

In 2004, Walentas proposed a much-different project on the same site, a building whose bulk was positioned right alongside the bridge and would indeed have diminished many views of the span.

But the current version of the project has not only solved that problem, but added in new public benefits that make it worthy of city approval.

For one thing, Walentas has promised to set aside space in the new building for a public middle school — a commitment that would save the city close to $50 million in school construction costs (and an unquantifiable amount of construction headaches).

In addition, the project now earmarks 65 units at below-market-rate prices, a bid to add some diversity to the increasingly homogeneous DUMBO community.

And Walentas has vowed that the new building would be a “green” one certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a respected environmental group.

As a result, the new Dock Street project is a victory for the DUMBO community.

It is also an important win for a much broader community: all New Yorkers who rely on strong public oversight of the development process to ensure that their neighborhoods don’t become blank canvases for builders whose only goal is profits.

Walentas needs a zoning change to make his Dock Street dream a reality.

That requirement allowed community leaders and elected officials to pick apart the original project, a process that revealed its flaws and prevented it from being built.

Such public review was entirely lacking at Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards, where a cursory environmental impact review found serious flaws, yet because no approval was needed by a local agency or elected official, the flaws were never corrected.

On Dock Street, however, the system worked: A flawed project was rejected, and the developer went back to the drawing board and returned with a better design that includes substantial public benefits.

That’s why Walentas’s Dock Street project has our support.

Updated 3:53 pm, December 12, 2008
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Reasonable discourse

Rob from DUMBO says:
You are so biased it isn't even funny. Two Trees is your landlord! Gee, I wonder who's side you are on. And you are supposed to be a newspaper! Publishing articles like this is completely unethical for a newspaper. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Why not print a fair assessment of this issue with arguments, opinions, and quotes FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY for once?!
Dec. 15, 2008, 12:46 pm
Gersh Kuntzman (Brooklyn Paper) from Editor says:
Thanks for your comment about our editorial, Rob. You will find the painstakingly objective story that you seek by clicking here:

Thanks for reading.

Dec. 17, 2008, 6:03 pm
Fourth Estate from DUMBO says:
Please, it is plainly obvious. Your paper keeps supporting developers who have lost touch with the economic realities of the time.
April 26, 2009, 10:53 pm
Lyn from Dumbo says:
When are they taking applications for housing at the Dock Street project and where do we apply?
Sept. 26, 2009, 3:25 pm

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