Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seven Developers Faceoff for Brooklyn Bridge Park Hotel, Condos

A star-studded list of developers have submitted proposals to build a hotel and condos at Pier One in Brooklyn Bridge Park. If there was any notion that Brooklyn is still somehow a backwater, the high-profile firms vying for these two sites should dispel that idea: Extell Development, Starwood Capital Group, Toll Brothers, Two Trees, RAL Companies, SDS Procida, and Dermot have proposed from 170 to 225 hotel rooms and 150 to 180 residential units.

The city-run Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation sought developers for two parcels adjacent to Pier 1, one rising to 110 feet and covering 65,000 square feet and the other 55 feet and 45,000 square feet. These two will house a combination of 225 hotel rooms and 150 apartments or 175 hotel rooms and 180 apartments, or a commbination thereof. The hotel and condominum will be built by the same developer, along with inducements for ground-floor dining along with parking, restrooms and support facilities for the park.

“The hotel and residential component represent a critical element of our park maintenance plan and the development’s amenities will benefit all park users for decades to come,” Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation president, Regina Myer said in a press release.

Payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOTs, from the two parcels are expected to fund a major portion of the park’s maintenance. Already One Brooklyn Bridge Park, the hulking converted warehouse on the park’s southern end, has contributed a few million dollars to the fund since 2006. Construction costs are still coming from the city, which has already pledged $55 million to begin work on Pier 2.

It is not surprising that Pier 1 is the first ground-up site to be developed. The Empire Stores was to have been converted years ago, but stability, preservation and disagreements over its commercialization held that up. Meanwhile, Pier 1 opened last year, providing developers the best front yard possible. The other sites, at Atlantic and John streets are still under development.
For those who feel that private property built on public parkland is a problem, the city has gone ahead and transformed Brooklyn Bridge Park from boring old public space into a full-on brand, as evinced in this video that accompanies the RFP. Wedged between America’s Oldest Suburb and Silicon Beach, this fits nicely with the borough that has become a way of life.

Images from each proposal appear in the slideshow below.