Daily News: Brooklyn's Bridge Park will see fewer luxury condos and more community amenities after Albany deal
By Mark Morales
A complex deal that could wipe out the construction of two high-priced condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park was signed yesterday.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights) spearheaded a deal that could cut the number of luxury condos planned for the gleaming waterfront park down to none while also getting parkgoers a skating rink, a swimming pool and other perks.
"We found a path to address long-standing community concerns about housing on site, complete the park and increase the amenities," said Squadron.
In the deal, the city hopes to fund the park by tapping into tax revenues from the sale of Watchtower Buildings in Brooklyn Heights, now owned by the religious group the Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Jehovah's Witnesses hope to leave town for upstate Warwick, N.Y., and are awaiting a decision on their land application, a group official said.
Under the plan, the two 20- and 30-story luxury condos will shrink depending on how many of the Watchtower Buildings get sold.
If enough property is bought, none of the condos will be constructed.
A condo building in the park on John St. would be cut back in size from 17 to 12 stories under the plan.
Also as part of the deal, the city will put back the $11 million it cut from the park's capital budget, boosting it back to $55 million.
Park enthusiasts also are guaranteed the return of the floating swimming pool in the summer for the next five years; an ice skating rink in the winter and a recreational bubble making the park usable in the winter.
"The deal dramatically changes the plan to ensure the completion of the park and reduces or eliminates housing," Squadron said.
But some local critics of the deal said the deal doesn't go far enough in reducing or eliminating luxury housing.
"It's a small step in the right direction," said Tony Manheim, a former president of the Brooklyn Heights Association and a founder of the Park. "There's lots more work to be done."
So far, 25 of the 85 acres of the park have been built at Piers 1 and 6.