Taking the podium at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City Representative Nydia M. Velázquez introduced new legislation, called the “Waterfront of Tomorrow Act,” to protect and fortify New York City’s 538-miles of coastline. The bill would instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to come up with an in-depth plan to stimulate economic growth and job creation, update the ports, and implement flood protection measures. Sandwiched between Red Hook Container Terminal and One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a large residential development, the pier was an appropriate place for the Congresswoman to announce legislation that addresses the city’s needs to bolster its shipping industry while also taking steps to mitigate flooding and ensure the resiliency and sustainability of its residential neighborhoods, parkland, and businesses.
Much has been brewing at Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) over the last six months starting with the opening of Pier 5 to the completion of Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge. And now, according to DUMBO NYC, the Park, along with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, recently unveiled plans at a community meeting to overhaul the Main Street section of its 1.3-mile waterfront stretch at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.
Another residential high-rise will soon join Brooklyn’s rapidly changing skyline. In response to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Request for Proposals in December, nearly a dozen teams submitted designs for the vacant John Street Development Site at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. Now BBP has released renderings from the eleven contenders, showing a wide range or proposals. The vacant 96,000-square-foot parcel, located at the corner of Pearl and John Streets, can accommodate up to 130 residential units, 101,000-sq-ft of residential space, and a whopping 110 parking spaces.
HNTB’s Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge connecting the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with Brooklyn Bridge Park opened to the public last Thursday. The $4.9 million bridge was built using “trail bridge technology” with galvanized steel cables and cylindrical black locust timbers, providing an efficient and lightweight structure that, as a sign at the entrance to the bridge warns, quite literally puts a bounce in visitors’ steps. “The bridge is very light weight. You will feel yourself walking across the bridge,” HNTB’s Chief Engineer Ted Zoli said at a construction tour in December. On AN‘s visit to the bridge Friday morning, traversing the spans did in fact provide a bouncy effect.
While Hurricane Sandy hasn’t slowed development in some parts of Brooklyn, it has delayed the groundbreaking of the Roger Marvel Architects-designed hotel and residential complex at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park called the Pierhouse. The New York Post reported that the project was originally slated to begin construction this month, but Toll Brothers, the developer, said they will hold off until the redesign of the 159-apartment and 200-room hotel complex is updated with measures meant to protect against future storm surges. Changes include elevating the building three feet, adding steps and ramps to the lobby, and placing the mechanical systems on the roof. This development is paying for a considerable portion—about $3.3 million—of the park’s $16 million annual maintenance budget. Nearby, plans for a velodrome proposed for the park were scrapped in part due to potential flooding of the site.
Another Announcement at Brooklyn Bridge Park: Rock Climbing Wall Could Rise Under the Manhattan Bridge
It seems as if a day can’t go by without a new announcement from Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Paper reported Tuesday that park planners are pushing for a free bouldering wall to be built beneath the Manhattan Bridge. The proposal calls for a ten to 12-foot-tall climbing wall at Plymouth and Washington streets. This fits within a larger vision to develop the park area by Main Street by expanding lawn space, designing a new entry plaza, and relocating the dog run.
This news comes right after philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz announced he was abandoning plans to build a velodrome, a complex for cyclists, in the park. As planners delved into the project, they found that the mounting costs of construction exceeded Rechnitz’s $50 million budget and growing concerns about flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy added another layer of complexity to the design. Rechnitz, however, is still on the hunt for the right location for his velodrome in New York.
An ambitious plan to build a $50 million velodrome in Brooklyn Bridge Park has been scrapped due to budget problems. Philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz had committed funds for the project to be built inside the footprint of an old one-story industrial building sitting within the park boundaries but, despite scaling the project back, site requirements like an aesthetic roof and the risk of flooding at its waterfront site made the proposed building too expensive.
For those in the market for prime waterfront real estate, there is something brewing in DUMBO. Today Brooklyn Bridge Park issued a Request for Proposal for a development on a vacant parcel in the north section of the park right next to the Manhattan Bridge. This site, located in what will be called the “John Street Section,” is approximately 9,600 square feet and will accommodate up to 130 residential units (with a maximum height of 130 feet) in addition to over 100 parking spaces and retail on the ground floor level.
It has been a busy few weeks at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Last week, AN got a preview of the Squibb Pedestrian Bridge, which will be completed before the end of the year, and today, Mayor Bloomberg announced the opening of the new sports fields on Pier 5 and the nearby Picnic Peninsula, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Regina Myer, the President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, told the crowd that they have been advocating for these recreation fields since the mid-1980s, which will now be used for a variety of field sports including soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football, and cricket.
This $26 million project spans 5-acres and offers turf fields supported by shock pad and organic infill made of sand and coconut fibers, shade sails on the northern and southern sides of the pier, and lighting for evening games. In addition to field recreation, there will be an area reserved for fishing with bait and preparation tables provided and a 30-foot promenade on the periphery of the field.
These days, it seems that the Brooklyn community is doing its best to find creative solutions to ameliorate the awkward neighborhood divisions caused by the BQE. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just received a grant for $75,000 from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to create what they’re calling a “funderpass” that will turn the dreary BQE underpass into a pedestrian-friendly passageway, which provides a direct connection between the shops and businesses on Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 6.
The Atlantic Avenue BID will team up with the Design Trust for Public Space to redesign the underpass to include wall murals by Groundswell, and new amenities such as a bike service station, seating, lighting improvements, and prominent wayfinding signage. BID hopes to finalize the design and possibly implement these changes by the end of 2013.
Before the end of this year, the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge will be completed connecting Brooklyn Heights with the Brooklyn Bridge Park on the waterfront. This windy path over the BQE and through the treetops will quite literally bridge the divide and substantial grade shift between the neighborhood and the park. Construction of this $4.9 million pedestrian bridge, made of black locust timber and galvanized steel, is already underway, and on December 14th and 15th, the spans will be hoisted into place over Furman Street.