Preservationists are a tenacious bunch. Even when they're rejected again and again (see: NYU), they'll keep rallying their lawyers and spending buckets of money to fight for what they want. So it comes as little surprise that Save the View Now, the group that has been leading the crusade against the Pierhouse development in Brooklyn Bridge Park, is not giving up, even though a judge ruled last month that the project is completely legal, albeit "simply too large." The Brooklyn Eagle reports that STVN has new evidence that bolsters their case, and they'll be headed back to court this Thursday, July 30. The group claims that the height of Pierhouse exceeds the 100-foot limit the developers and Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation agreed to, and therefore blocks views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Heights promenade. The group told the Eagle that the new material shows that the bulkheads, which do not count toward a building's official height, are not just bulkheads, and thus constitute extra square footage that should be included in the building's height.
The group told the Eagle, "After lengthy delays caused by city agencies, we received a copy of the building plans which reveal that the bulkheads are designed to contain an enclosed kitchen, food service and preparation areas, an 'outdoor' shower, six separate elevators and vestibules (which exceed the permitted square footage for vestibules), and a separate room for 'pool equipment.'" The plans also supposedly "show additional structures including food and bar areas, raised decks, awnings and a structured canopy for wedding/event space."
The development team of Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital Group responded with a statement: "A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that the Pierhouse development is being built in a way that conforms with the approved project plan. We are confident that the court will also find these new claims to be without merit."
The judge's reasoning was two-fold. First, the 100-foot height limit was not actually incorporated into the Modified General Project Plan for the development of the park. It had only been noted in emails and in a comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Additionally, the four-month statute of limitations on the issue had long passed, so group should have sued in 2006 when the general project plan was finalized or in 2013, after plans for these buildings were filed with the city. Given this last point, it's unlikely that these new documents will help at all.
Meanwhile, none of this has halted construction. The controversial building is nearly complete. The hotel portion at the northern edge of the site (the tallest, most view-blocking section) should open next summer, and sales for the 108 condos are well underway. StreetEasy shows 17 active listings, ranging in price from $2.55 million to $10.49 million.
· Save the View Now Advocates Head Back to Court Over Pierhouse Height [BK Eagle]
· Brooklyn Bridge-Blocking Pierhouse Is Allowed to Keep Rising [Curbed]
· Drone Images Capture Proposed Brooklyn Bridge View District [Curbed]
· The Brooklyn Bridge Deserves a Scenic View District of Its Own [Curbed]
· All Pierhouse coverage [Curbed]