Work Halted at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 Over Height Questions

Pier 1 development, project in question on the rightPier 1 development, project in question on the right, image from Brooklyn Bridge Park

Early in Bloomberg’s term as mayor, a deal was struck to give Brooklyn Heights a new park. Rather than fund it out of the general budget – which might have been seen as unfair to neighborhoods in the city without as much investment and wealth – the plan was to build housing on the edge of the park, which would then pay for the waterfront greensward (whose land the Port Authority was planning to sell to private developers anyway) without diverting funds from projects in other more deserving neighborhoods.

That logic has been forgotten by many, who decry the construction of housing on the edge of what has become Brooklyn Bridge Park. And now they are doing what they can to halt the projects, which luckily is not much, given de Blasio’s support for the plan.

Among other points, opponents have opined against the minuscule bump in the height and placement of mechanicals on the roof of the northern building (which recently topped out), designed by Marvel Architects. The southern building, on the other hand, will stand 55 feet tall, the result of a very minor 3.55-foot height increase.

But now, at the request of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the developer of the southern building on Pier 1 – a joint venture between Starwood Capital and Toll Brothers City Living – is looking to the city’s Department of Buildings to confirm that the height change is in compliance with the Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District, which limits the height of buildings between the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the waterfront to protect the views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

To that end, the DOB has issued a partial stop work order on the southern building (halting work on and above the second floor slab), which lies within the protected view plan, while the developer checks with the department to make sure the plans comply with the scenic view zoning.

“Minor adjustments such as the alteration of bulkheads or parapets are among the type of alterations that may be necessary to bring the structure into full compliance,” according to a Brooklyn Bridge Park official.

“We take our responsibility to protect the Scenic View District very seriously,” Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park, told YIMBY, “and we will take aggressive action against any encroachment on the protected view plane.”

A DOB decision will hopefully be coming shortly, so that work can resume on bringing more apartments to this desperately supply-constrained city.

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