[UPDATE 2: The BP office has released a statement “recommending that the City Planning Commission and the City Council support the concept of residential, retail and parking at this site as proposed by Two Trees Management—however, I reject the building as currently configured and seek modifications based on certain conditions.” Read full release in PDF format.]
[UPDATE 1: The Brooklyn President’s office contacted us to make the correction that Mr. Markowitz’s recommendation is not necessarily to build higher, but as of right, Two Trees can build up to 25 stories on the site (though CB2’s stated previously that “As of right they can only build a 2-story building on the entire sight, 4 stories on half, 8 stories on a quarter, etc.”). Mr. Markowitz is speaking from the concern for the iconic views from the Brooklyn Bridge, and proposes that the developer narrow the building, which in effect will improve the views and increase the height of the building if the square footage is maintained. Also, the BP office is considering the school issue a separate issue outside of the zoning proposal. We will be receiving an official statement from the Brooklyn President’s office in the next few days.]
The NY Times has reported today that Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president has decided to support the Dock Street Dumbo project, after reassuring some opposition groups that he will ‘lean towards’ his decision to reject the proposal that was submitted in 2004 but will consider all the options. This is a big boost for Two Trees Management. However, his views are advisory only and the proposal goes before the City Planning Commission.
According to the NY Times City Room blog posting, Mr. Markowitz wrote to the Department of City Planning in support of the proposed tower and suggested to Two Trees Management that the tower be made taller, 25 stories instead of 18, and more slender.
“He also asked the developer to move the building, which is bordered by Dock, Front and Water Streets, about 70 feet farther away from Front Street. He also urged that the developer cut two stories off a nine-story wing of the building along Water Street. Those measures, Mr. Markowitz asserted, will protect views of the bridge.
“The views of the iconic and, I think, the world’s most celebrated bridge must be preserved,” Mr. Markowitz said in an interview. “There will be those that will celebrate this and there will be those that obviously have other views.”
This comes after Councilwoman Letitia James’ statement yesterday on her blog that a private-public partnership of Dock St Dumbo is a ‘no brainer’. The Dumbo Neighborhood Association, which opposes the proposal is shocked at the decision made by Mr. Markowitz and stated “We have never seen a politician change so dramatically from a promise he made to the community. We now get a 25 story tower, a 500 car garage [ed: BP Office will confirm this], and no school [ed: see above update].”
The City Planning Commission hearing on the proposed Two Trees Dock Street development will take place next Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 12pm at 22 Reade Street, NYC. (See page 159 of the hearing schedule (PDF)). Is Marty’s decision shocking or expected?