As expected, the planned residential development at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, has become the subject of another lawsuit. The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) filed suit against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) along with the state and developers of the residential project, claiming that BBPC’s selection violated the existing laws that govern development in the Park.
"The BBPC is violating the fundamental commitment on which the BHA and the community supported the Park’s creation: that real estate development at the park would be limited to only the amount necessary to fund the Park’s financial needs," Patrick Killackey, the president of the BHA, said in a statement. "We need open space at the Park, not needless new condo towers."
The lawsuit levels several allegations against BBPC, and the development team, including the fact that BBPC undervalued the revenue that will be generated from several new projects including Empire Stores, and Pierhouse in order to say that the Park needed revenues from the Pier 6 development to sustain itself —concerns that were also raised by community groups in early June this year.
However the lawsuit also alleges some kind of back door deal between BBPC, the city, and the developers, the New York Daily News reported. BHA claims that RAL Development Group (one of the Pier 6 developers) along with its lobbyist James Capalino each contributed $10,000 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fund, Campaign for One New York in May 2015. This was right before RAL’s selection as the developer for the project was made public.
In addition, BHA also claims that BBPC violated its own laws in selecting RAL in that one of the stipulations required that the developer be registered as doing business with the city, but that didn’t happen until almost a year after RAL was selected.
"We’re taking all necessary steps to proceed with union construction at Pier 6, and we're confident that the court will dismiss this frivolous attempt to block essential park funding and affordable housing," a spokesperson for RAL said in a statement.
A slightly altered version of the original proposal for Pier 6 was approved by BBPC’s board in June despite vocal protests from locals. The state had earlier withdrawn its support for the project saying the warring parties needed to come to an agreement before moving forward, but the city decided to forge on ahead regardless citing a critical need for affordable housing.
"We're proud of our Pier 6 project and the meticulous, merit-based process that brought it to fruition, a spokesperson for BBP said, in a statement. "We've exhaustively demonstrated that the Pier 6 development is essential to the long-term funding of the Park -- in addition to providing sorely needed affordable housing and union jobs in the process. We're confident that we've satisfied all legal requirements, and look forward to ensuring that the Park will have the funding it needs to serve millions of New Yorkers long into the future."
BHA’s lawsuit asks the NYS Supreme Court to annul the BBPC Board’s vote on June 7 to approve the project.
- De Blasio donor hired to build Pier 6 Brooklyn towers didn’t follow city procedures, lawsuit says [NYDN]
- Brooklyn Bridge Park's Housing Plan Loses State Support, But City Will Move Ahead [Curbed]
- Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 Housing Moves Forward Following Board Vote [Curbed]