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Decision looms: Judge will decide Pier 6 towers’ fate after litigants refuse to compromise during last arguments

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It’s in her hands.

The fate of two polarizing towers set to rise at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park is now up to the judge that took over the seven-months-long case in August, who failed to broker a second closed-door deal between litigants on Tuesday before their last court appearance on Wednesday.

Justice Carmen Victoria St. George listened intently as attorneys for civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association, who filed suit against the green space’s honchos last July, and the park and its developers went tit-for-tat before the bench, even giving them the gift of more time when she twice delayed what were supposed to be final arguments. And now that everything is on the table, all the litigants can do is sit and wait for her decision, according to the Heights Association’s lawyer.

“We had a very full and fair opportunity to argue our position with Justice St. George and we look forward to getting her ruling,” said Richard Ziegler.

The legal eagles first appeared in the judge’s courtroom on Nov. 2 — months after she took over the matter from Justice Lucy Billings, who said she had to pass it off because she was assigned to another case. Over the course of four days, attorneys representing park honchos and the developers who want to erect the 15 and 28-story towers at the foot of Atlantic Avenue repeated their arguments that the high-rises will generate revenue necessary for the cash-strapped green space to restore the timber piles that support Pier 6, which crustaceans are gnawing away.

And across the aisle, the civic group’s lawyers reiterated their claims that the meadow’s coffers are flush with cash, that park officials violated their own terms for choosing the towers’ developers, and that the shorter high-rise — which would contain 100 units of so-called affordable housing — violates Brooklyn Bridge Park’s 2006 General Project Plan, an operating agreement that requires development parcels within the green space turn a profit.

And St. George continued to push for a compromise even as the attorneys firmly stood their ground, more than once asking the developers’ lawyers why they couldn’t just scrap the tower with affordable housing during the last two days of arguments.

“Why is tower B necessary? It’s still a question on my mind, and why I really spoke to you all about coming to an attempt to resolve the matter with just one big tower,” she said on Tuesday.

But forgoing the shorter high-rise would not allow the development to bring in enough cash, according to a lawyer for the park.

“Physically it could be done, but not economical­ly,” said Hayley Stein.

Meadow honchos applauded their attorneys performance following Wednesday’s session, saying they too await the final decision.

“We’re pleased to have presented our case, and now look forward to the judge’s ruling,” said Eric Landau, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

There is no deadline for St. George to issue her ruling, which will be announced on the state’s court-system website. And construction on the towers proceeds in the meantime, as stipulated by Justice Billings’ July ruling that it could continue during the ongoing case.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, November 16, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Morris from Mill Basin says:
Oh no. This makes me sad. Can't we all just get along?
Nov. 16, 2017, 7:06 am
NN from Boerum Hill says:
Brooklyn needs more affordable housing. The Brooklyn Heights Association is a racist organization that fights to keep poor people from living near, or walking through, Brooklyn Heights. They even fought against the carousel. I'm glad they lost that fight and I hope they lose this one too.
Nov. 16, 2017, 8:30 pm
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
I'm a member of the BHA. I guess that makes me a racist, too, huh?

Your obnoxious comment, hidden behind anonymous initials, is offensive in the extreme. Go back to holding your Trump/KKK rally!
Nov. 17, 2017, 11:23 am
Judi Francis from Cobble Hill says:
As someone who stood against the Heights Association (BHA) for their original stance supporting private housing inside the borders of what was supposed to be a public park (that had sufficient funds from non privatizing commercial enterprise to support it without housing, back when it was first developed with near complete community agreement), I can unequivocally say that the BHA has more than done the right thing to take on this "park" administration with these law suits. The housing the "park" has already built has privatized huge swathes of what was to be park lands (where several of the park and conservancy board members now live, giving new meaning to feathering ones own nest at the expense of others), they have illegally violated the scenic views of the Bridge with the overbuilding of the luxe condos at Pier 1, and they, unequivocally, do not need the funds from these new towers to support the park. This is not the organization characterized by the non-named sensationalist, above. This is an organization intent on creating MORE park lands at Pier 6 and an organization that has come up with several ideas on how, even without wanting or needing more private housing, to accommodate the city's new mandates for more affordability. It is a lie, plain and simple, that the BHA is not now trying to do the right thing for both the park and for affordability. They are to be commended as I do, now. The park administration and its board are to be vilified for privatizing the park, not working with the community in good faith and for grossly falsifying the facts of this case. We are hopeful the judge has seen through all of this and recognizes how hard the community has worked to imagine, bring to reality and to support what was to have been a great park for the children of Brooklyn, and in celebration of the Great Bridge.
Nov. 17, 2017, 12:02 pm
Joshua from Cobble Hill says:
Section 8 and low income housing in the luxury tower buildout of a luxury park is luxury developer poverty pimping, the ticket to building higher, wider and more under our developer-loving Mayor, elected and re-elected on massive contributions from luxury highrise builders. Middle income people can't afford to live in the tricked out BBP towers so officially poor people are now their most sought after tenants? That's how cynical our progressive politicians and developer cronies are. The poor people will be isolated among the luxury BBP crowd, have nothing in common. The "affordable housing" is a joke on everyone, except the politicians and the developers who have all struck it rich on using the poor. NN, what do you think about poverty pimping? Also you might explain how opposing the carousel is racist.
Nov. 17, 2017, 1:11 pm
John from Brooklyn says:
Developers dont lose in the brooklyn courthouse
Nov. 18, 2017, 11:32 am

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