The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is firing back against claims made by a local community group that BBPC doesn’t need to build housing on Pier 6 to ensure Brooklyn Bridge Park’s longterm financial viability.
BBPC’s response follows a letter submitted by the Brooklyn Heights Association as part of an ongoing lawsuit over Pier 6 housing. The letter alleges that the tentative 2018 tax valuations of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s existing housing from the Department of Finance are 30 percent ahead of the city’s projections, and at that would create an extra $300 million in revenue over the next 50 years, eradicating the need for 266 apartments spread across two towers on Pier 6.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has now stepped up with a letter contesting BHA’s interpretation of the tax valuation data, saying that BHA borked the numbers and selectively used (and miscalculated) data that could be tweaked to support its argument.
David Lowin, interim president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, pointed out in an interview with Curbed that the numbers BHA drew from only represent one year of incomplete valuations, and don’t present enough data to project a conservative 50-year financial plan for the park. The taxes claimed from the park’s existing and planned developments shoulder the financial burden of the park’s upkeep.
BHA continues to assert that the Department of Finance valued the park’s contested Pierhouse development at $230/square foot, or 56 percent more than BBPC’s initial projections. But BBPC now points out that the data is being misinterpreted by BHA. A letter from the Department of Finance confirms that the tentative market value per square foot for Pierhouse is set at $178.43, which is still higher than BBPC’s current (and more conservative) valuation of $148/square foot. “If we're super aggressive with our assumptions, that means we don't have enough money to maintain the park," Lowin said.
“It would be impossible for us or them to say any one year [of tax valuation data] proves or disproves our model,” Lowin told Curbed. "We need to ensure the park is fully funded—that's the reason we're doing this development in the first place.” The lawsuit to block Pier 6 housing filed by Brooklyn Heights Association against Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation in July 2016 will see its day in court sometime in the coming weeks.
“There’s a longstanding impression that you can have your cake and eat it too,” Lowin said. “That you can have this park without this development.” But as BBPC maintains, that just isn’t the case.