A Brooklyn judge ruled Friday that the developers of Pierhouse, the condo-hotel project at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, didn’t violate height restrictions created to protect the view of the eponymous bridge. State Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel also argues that the Brooklyn Heights activists who brought the lawsuit waited too long to challenge a development plan that has been in motion since 2005.
Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital Group can now finish construction of the two-building complex, which will help fund the park’s multimillion dollar annual maintenance budget. Neighborhood activist group Save the View Now filed suit on April 21 and secured a Temporary Restraining Order two days later, halting construction on the southern residential building at 130 Furman Street.
The park’s 2006 general project plan capped the northern building at 100 feet and the southern one at 55 feet. In the lawsuit, STVN claimed the the northern building had violated its 100-foot height limit by adding a 35-foot bulkhead for mechanicals and a rooftop bar.
Since the original plan didn’t specify whether that was allowed, the judge assumes the park and the community were aware that a bulkhead could be slightly taller than the height limit.
Legally, the activists had four months to file suit over the height restrictions. The judge explains that regardless of when you start the clock—after the project plan was hashed out in 2006, or when construction kicked off in September 2013—the statute of limitations for the lawsuit had passed.
The developers are excited that they can proceed with construction, and sent along this statement:
“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision and findings of fact that confirm the Pierhouse development complies with the height restrictions imposed on the project which were adopted after years of extensive community review and input.”
Brooklyn Bridge Park president Regina Myer is thrilled by the decision. “We’re gratified the court agrees that the Pier 1 development underwent an extensive, transparent design review process, maintains all protected views, and complies with all height restrictions imposed on the project,” she wrote in a statement to YIMBY.
“Since the park’s inception in 2002, its funding plan has been straightforward: revenue from development sites within the project’s footprint supports the park’s longterm maintenance and operations. Without those sites, there would be no Brooklyn Bridge Park. The court agrees. Our ability to finish the Pier 1 project moves us closer to that self-sustaining goal, and to completing the transformation from derelict waterfront to vibrant open space enjoyed by millions”
Read the decision here [PDF].