SVTN Meets with Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp.

On Wednesday, January 21st, representatives from Save the View Now sat down with Regina Meyer and other colleagues from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to address specific concerns we had with the construction of the Pierhouse. One of the positive outcomes of the meeting is that SVTN was told that Parcel B (the Condominium portion – which is currently being constructed south of the hotel) will be in full compliance with both the SV-1 Scenic View District and the 55′ Height Limitation. WE REITERATED OUR CONCERN ABOUT THIS as the designs for Parcel B filed with the DOB indicate the building in Parcel B will effectively have a total of 68′. We have requested action on BBPC’s part to contact Toll Brothers to fix any deviations.

Regarding Parcel A – the portion of the Pierhouse which is currently standing and which we are currently investigating  – we have requested the help of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to begin conversations with Toll Brothers to temporarily halt construction immediately to allow time for solutions to the problem to be developed before any further expense is incurred.

SEE THE LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS

JANUARY 20th, 2015 | INITIAL LETTER TO OUTLINE PURPOSE OF MEETING 

  • We are including in this post our initial letter to Regina Myer outlining what we hoped to be accomplished in the meeting. Annex A addresses the specific concerns we seek answer to.  Link to the letter here: STVN Letter to BBPC, January 20, 2015.

JANUARY 22nd, 2015 | RESPONSE LETTER AFTER OUR MEETING

  • Our response letter detailing action steps to what we learned in the meeting, dated January 22nd. Link to the letter here:  Follow up letter to BBPC Jan22

We have also included the letter portion of the January 22nd document below:

January 22, 2015

Regina Myer, President
Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation
334 Furman Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Dear Ms. Myer,

Thank you, and your colleagues, for meeting with me, other representatives of Save the View Now
(“STVN”), and representatives from Senator Squadron’s and Councilman Levin’s offices yesterday. We
left the meeting hopeful that those at Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (“BBPC”) share the same goal as
we do that the hotel and condominium buildings at Pierhouse comply with the agreements reached with
the community in 2005 to protect the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline from the
Brooklyn Promenade (the “Promenade”). We wanted to follow up on various action items that were
agreed to at the meeting.

1. You gave us your word that Parcel B (the Condominium portion) would be in full compliance
with both the SV-1 Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District (“SV-1”) and the 55’ height
limitation.

• BBPC has undertaken to provide STVN promptly with updated designs for Parcel B that
unequivocally demonstrates such compliance. You understand that time is of the essence
as construction on Parcel B has begun and none of us want construction to proceed that is
not in compliance with amended designs.

2. We highlighted that the designs for Parcel B filed with the Department of Buildings by Toll
Brothers indicate that the building in Parcel B will effectively have a total height of 68’ over
BBHD for most of the roof, which is in violation of the 55’ and SV-1 height limitation.
Furthermore, the Toll Brothers’ Pierhouse Sales Office shows an extra floor on one portion of this
building, which we believe would violate the height restriction we both agree apply to Parcel B.

• BBPC agreed to contact Toll Brothers within one day to understand and fix any
deviations, and immediately provide us with explanations and solutions.

3. As BBPC’s lawyers were not present, BBPC was unsure as to whether or not it had the authority
to require Toll Brothers to halt construction on Pierhouse for both Parcel A (the hotel) and Parcel
B, although you do not believe it does.

• BBPC will contact their lawyers to determine if: (i) BBPC has the authority to demand
that Toll Brothers halt construction, and (ii) BBPC can provide STVN with copies of its
contracts with Toll Brothers and other due diligence documentation that Toll Brothers
relied upon in developing its plans for Pierhouse.

We appreciate BBPC’s responsiveness in ensuring that Parcel B will be in full compliance with the 55’
height limitation and the requirements of SV-1.

As to Parcel A, we learned that many of the agreements reached with your predecessor organization and
the community in 2005/2006, including without limitation, the agreement related to the 100’ height
limitation inclusive of mechanicals, pre-date your tenure with BBPC. However, BBPC certainly still has
the obligation to ensure that those agreements are implemented. Although you may not have the authority to demand Toll Brothers halt further construction, , we urge you to take action and begin conversations with Toll Brothers to temporarily halt construction in order to allow time for solutions to the Parcel A disaster to be developed before any further expense is incurred. As we stated, we are also exploring remedial measures available to us, which include legal action.

Although our meeting was productive, many of our questions still remain unanswered. Please provide us
with answers to Annex A from our letter dated January 20, 2015. We have re-attached those questions to
this letter.

The community has placed a lot of trust in BBPC and its predecessors. While that trust has been breached,
we look forward to working together to re-establish that trust. Yesterday’s meeting was a good first step
and we hope to expeditiously move forward together, as time is of the essence.

Sincerely,

 

Steven Guterman

Save the View Now

Glynnis Macnicol: Give us Back Our View

The day after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, an elderly woman on Long Island was asked by one of the New York papers for her reaction. It was all very exciting, she said, but “nothing compared to the day they opened the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Since 1951, when Robert Moses — diverted by alarmed Brooklyn Heights residents from his plan to run a highway through their neighborhood, built the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway along the waterfront escarpment — the Brooklyn Heights Promenade has offered the greatest imaginable vista of the bridge, Lower Manhattan and a long glittery expanse of the city all the way up to the Chrysler and Empire State buildings.

This famous, glorious view is being obliterated by the construction of the Pierhouse condominium in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since sometime last month, when one stands at the northern end of the promenade or along the Fruit St. Sitting Area, instead of gazing upon the river, the bridge and the gleaming Freedom Tower, all one can see is the hulking concrete behemoth of what will soon be a collection of condos, plus hotel, that are, according to the billboards that run along the construction site, “priced from the 2 millions ” and offer “unrivaled views.”

Read Full Article on the NY Daily News 

VIDEO: CBS News Reports on Save the View Now

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An unusual demand has been lodged by some residents of Brooklyn.

They claim a building going up near the Brooklyn Bridge is too tall and they want the top floors removed, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

Stroll the Brooklyn Heights promenade and you’ll notice the new Pierhouse condo complex that partly obscures the view of the bridge.

“The Brooklyn Bridge is the most beautiful and iconic structure,” said Steven Guterman of the group “Save the View Now.”

Guterman said the bridge view was supposed to be protected — not obstructed — under the deal to build the Pierhouse.

His group claims developer Toll Brothers built three stories higher than agreed to. At least 3,000 people have signed a petition asking the city to force Toll Brothers to restore the view.

“Chop off whatever is needed from the building to get the views as was clearly articulated in the final environmental impact statement,” Guterman said.

All the approvals for the project were done under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but it doesn’t look like Mayor Bill de Blasio has much sympathy for the idea of lopping off the top of the Pierhouse, Aiello reported.

A promotional video shows the completed complex nestled behind the highly praised Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is maintained using money from the developer instead of tax dollars.

The mayor’s pick for park president said the Pierhouse is just 3 feet higher than originally planned due to changes forced by Hurricane Sandy, and no more obstructive than a warehouse torn down on the site.

“There’s no bait and switch. The building that is under construction now is exactly the building that was approved,” said Regina Myer of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. “This was all according to the plan for this beautiful park.”

But opponents have won an important ally as the Brooklyn Heights Association is putting its weight behind this fight over height, Aiello reported.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said his office is meeting with concerned groups and reviewing the issue.