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Developing CitiStorage Site Into Anything But Park Too Unwieldy, City Officials Say

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The city is still trying to acquire the 11-acre site, a key component of Bushwick Inlet Park

The public auction for Norman Brodsky’s CitiStorage site on the Williamsburg waterfront wrapped up yesterday, marking an impasse for the contentious lot. The city is still out to purchase the site and deliver on it’s longtime promise of a 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park, but its offer of $100 million for the site was laughed down by Brodsky who called the offer a "good start" but indicated it was a significant amount less than he was looking for.

Real estate experts have asserted that the value of the site is at least $120 million, but the Wall Street Journal reported in June that the site was on the market seeking $325 million as a development site for a 15-story, 600,0000-square-foot commercial or office complex.

In the time since the city has made its bid, two officials have penned letters to local councilman Steve Levin pointing to the limited use of the site, a tactic meant to indicate to Brodsky that if he doesn’t accept the city’s bid, another buyer may be hard to come by, Politico reports. The site is currently zoned for manufacturing construction.

A letter from Peter Wertheim, a senior advisor to deputy mayor Alicia Glen, pointed out the lot’s zoning restrictions and how they would "minimize the development potential given the significant costs associated with compliance and the attendant reduction in the developable area." Department of City Planning official Winston Von Engel mentioned the arcane parking requirements associated with the site, noting that any developer would have to add "a very significant number of screened, off-street parking spaces."

But Brodsky isn’t relenting. The developer told Politico that "[t]he land for sale is as is, and ... Williamsburg/Greenpoint is a mecca for office space now, so that's what you can build there." He continued, "I have no illusions that it's going to be rezoned."

Bushwick Inlet Park is itself the product of a rezoning of a 2005 rezoning of the north Brooklyn waterfront that paved the way for residential towers. It was a promise to the neighborhood that the neighborhood is still fighting tooth and nail for.

Brodsky has refused to disclose any bids made during the public auction process. The battle continues.