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DeBlasio: I won’t rezone promised Bushwick Inlet Park land for apartments

The Brooklyn Paper
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It may not be a park — but at least it won’t be condos.

Mayor DeBlasio will block developers from building apartments on a Williamsburg industrial waterfront property the city has long promised to turn into parkland, so long as residents and local pols continue to oppose the idea, Hizzoner pledged this week.

“The administration would never accept a rezoning here that did not have the support of the councilman and community,” said the mayor’s spokesman Wiley Norvell.

The city vowed 10 years ago to buy the 11-acre CitiStorage warehouses between N. 10th and N. 11th streets and use them to complete the would-be 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park — compensation for rezoning much of the neighborhood’s waterfront to make way for an influx of luxury housing.

But it dilly-dallied as the land’s value skyrocketed and now says it can’t afford the $300 million or more owner Norm Brodsky claims he can get for the property, leaving locals scared someone else would snap it up.

Media reports have speculated that the city might cut a deal with Brodsky that would give it part of the site for parkland in exchange for allowing lucrative residential buildings on the rest. Local Councilman Steve Levin (D–Willliamsb­urg) has already said he will oppose anything but green-space on the site — which would make rezoning difficult, but not impossible.

But DeBlasio finally put a fork in the idea following a Crain’s report on Tuesday that claimed developers Related Companies, Midtown Equities, and East End Capital are in talks for a deal that would allow them to eventually take ownership of the land — welcome news to park advocates.

“We’re very happy that the mayor and the city have joined with the community board and elected officials in sending a very loud, clear message that the land is to be a park,” said Steve Chesler, co-chair of activist group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park.

But the statement of solidarity is just a step in the right direction, said Chesler. Brodsky or a buyer could still build office or retail space on the site without the city’s okay — a far less lucrative venture, but still a possibility until the city actually makes good on its promise to buy the land.

“It’s definitely a concern that they could still do that,” he said. “It would still be horrendous.”

Midtown Equities refused to confirm whether any deal was in the works, stating that it is against policy to discuss development plans. Related Companies and East End Equities did not respond to requests for comment.

Brodsky could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
So we can give developers the power of eminent domain and millions/billions in tax breaks but we can't use eminent domain against developers and buy this land for the public good. Buy the damn land.
Dec. 31, 2015, 11:37 am
broken promises from in town says:
DeBlasio can fix thousands of broken promises by keeping one.
Dec. 31, 2015, 1:09 pm
marsha rimler says:
DeBlasio and Levin will out due each other in evading their promises . In the end they will both jump on board with the developers. Dumplevin 2017@aol.com and on twitter. Join us
Jan. 1, 2016, 5:20 am
Powder from Brooklyn Heights says:
Maybe if he thought with his brain, instead of his ding-dong for once he wouldn't make such retardo decisions.
Jan. 1, 2016, 6:55 am
2 years from Williamsburg says:
In two years Levin and Deblasio will be term limited and they will do a deal. Two years is nothing in real estate and Related knows this. Smart move.

Soon their will be beautiful condos going up next to parkland.
Jan. 1, 2016, 9:54 pm
Mr. Footnote says:
Charles, the city can take the property by eminent domain but then it needs to pay market value. Eminent domain doesn't mean the government just takes property. And 2 years, unless Levin or deBlasio are unseated (see Rimler), neither are term limited out of office until 2021.
Jan. 4, 2016, 1:17 pm
Brian from Greenpoint says:
What's the toxicity of this site?
Jan. 4, 2016, 8:28 pm
Best Use from Greenpoint says:
Given the high demand and total dearth of supply it makes perfect sense to develop this site at least partially into a commercial project.

The statements by the mayor are clearly a negotiating tactic - we should all be very happy to see public opposition to a residential project on the site.

That said, we don't need the entirety of the space for a park - it's a huge lot. Further, the neighborhood greatly needs more office space, which contributes to the functionality of the neighborhood. I suggest a small portion of the property nearest the street grid be made into a nice office tower or whatever and the rest into parkland. That's a deal that can get the city a fair price, improve the neighborhood, and still produce a great park.

Don't be greedy.
Jan. 5, 2016, 10:16 am
b from gp says:
Building in a floodplain is totally unacceptable unless the materials used are non toxic. Too often developers settle for a subpar LEED certification, because poisoned waters are no biggie.
Jan. 5, 2016, 12:32 pm
Darren from Greenpont says:
The article title should have been: Di Bozo hears local residents cries loud and clear and won't pay for promised park. Failing to fund this park is failing the 2005 rezoning. Parkland, waterfront access, affordable housing in exchange for towers, density, traffic, higher prices and over capacity transportation. Hope everyone enjoys the new mall and the new mayor!
Jan. 15, 2016, 8:37 pm

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