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Striking oil: City buys Bayside Depot, expands Bushwick Inlet Park

Public speaker: Councilman Steve Levin nearly lost his voice at a rally on the steps of City Hall because he is so adamant about the city buying land in Williamsburg to turn it into park.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It’s Bushwick Inlet Park’s Louisiana Purchase!

The city has finally purchased a chunk of Williamsburg waterfront property on N. 12th Street it has for years promised to convert into green space as part of the long-awaited Bushwick Inlet Park — adding about six football fields of space to the park and taking a significant step towards the sprawling oasis’ completion, say park advocates.

“We’re really excited,” said Katherine Thompson of the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park. “It’s not the whole park, but it is a piece — we’re getting closer.”

The city on Tuesday bought the eight-acre plot of industrial land from Bayside Fuel Oil Depot Corporation for $53 million, according to property records — the next step is to demolish the warehouse on the property and clean up the land so it can become green space, said a city rep.

The sale, first reported by Law360, has been in the works for years — the city has previously stated its intention to swipe up the parcel, most recently saying it had locked down a deal with Bayside in 2015, but failed to finalize the purchase before now.

The city still must purchase the 11-acre CitiStorage site between N. 10th and N. 11th Streets in order to make good in its decade-old promise to deliver a full 28-acre park — a promise meant to compensate for a massive waterfront rezoning that has paved the way for the rapid-fire development of luxury high-rises.

But the city says it can no longer afford the land since its value has sky-rocketed over the past decade — CitiStorage honcho Norm Brodsky has claimed he can get $300 million for the property — leaving its future uncertain.

Mayor DeBlasio pledged in December that he will not allow the land to be rezoned for residential development, quelling fears that developers could snatch it up for luxury condos — but the property could still hold office or retail spaces under the current zoning, and the city should snatch it up sooner rather than later to avoid losing it.

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park is currently trying to arrange for a meeting with the Parks Department to discuss the remediation of the Bayside property and the potential acquisition of the rest of the site, said Thompson.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
At last: The city has swiped this land at N. 12th Street as part of the future Bushwick Inlet Park — now it just has to demolish the existing Bayside Fuel Oil Depot structures and clean up the land so it can become green space.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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