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Brooklyn Bridge Park's funding continues to be scrutinized

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A community group argues that the projected tax revenue of the park’s developments exceeds expectations—and negates the need for Pier 6 development

RAL Development Services/Oliver's Realty

The ongoing debate over new housing on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 has reared again. This time the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) alleges that the existing residential developments in the park are creating more revenue than anticipated, eliminating the need to build 226 apartments on Pier 6, the Wall Street Journal reports.

This is an ongoing issue: the lawsuit-happy Brooklyn Heights Association sued Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) last July, after developers RAL Development Services and Oliver’s Realty Group signed a 93-year lease for the site, alleging that park planners had said that Pier 6 housing wouldn’t move forward if the revenue to maintain the park wasn’t needed.

Tax assessors hired by BHA have now found that the developments already in the park are worth way more than revenue projections prepared by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation say they are. In January, BHA alleges the Department of Finances valued the park’s contested Pierhouse development at $230/square foot, or 56 percent more than BBPC’s initial projections.

In a court filing last week, BHA alleged that January tax valuations of projects in the park are 30 percent ahead of the city’s projections, and at that would pony up an extra $300 million in revenue over the next 50 years if the financial projections are accurate.

Of course, BBPC isn’t having any of it. The group issued the following statement:

The Pier 6 project will provide the park with funding it needs to serve millions of New Yorkers for decades to come – along with affordable housing and union construction jobs. We have repeatedly made clear the necessity and merits of this project, and look forward to responding to the BHA's erroneous claims in court.

BBPC’s interim president David Lowin has previously said all higher valuations of Pierhouse are “simply incorrect and misleading, and should be discounted.”

Meanwhile, work is plugging right along on Pier 5 uplands, expected to open in 2017. Also this year, the park’s Squibb Park Bridge is expected to make its triumphant, and significantly less bouncy, return.

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