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City Reverses Stance on CitiStorage Site After Community Pressure

By Gwynne Hogan | December 31, 2015 3:17pm | Updated on January 4, 2016 8:49am
 The de Blasio administration has changed its tune on a possible rezoning at the CitiStorage facility.
The de Blasio administration has changed its tune on a possible rezoning at the CitiStorage facility.
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Facebook/Friends of Bushwick Inlet/John Saponara

GREENPOINT — The city has agreed not put housing on the former CitiStorage facility on the North Brooklyn waterfront following months of community outcry.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio's office confirmed Thursday that the administration has heard the criticisms of a plan to rezone the 11-acre property, which then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised would become Bushwick Inlet Park when the area was rezoned in 2005.

The city's change of heart was first reported by Crain's New York.

“The administration would never accept a rezoning here that did not have the support of the Councilman and community," said Monica Klein, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Before this week's comments, the administration reportedly supported building some luxury and some affordable housing on the lot with a section of park land if the developers would foot the bill, according to Crain's. 

That position sparked the ire of residents and local politicians who represent the district who've cried foul for months.

Under the 2005 agreement, the city was supposed to purchase the CitiStorage site and turn all of it into a greenspace, along with two other sections of neighboring greenery, for a total of 28 acres of continuous Bushwick Inlet Park land.

While the luxury towers have since sprouted up all along the Williamsburg and Greenpoint shoreline since the rezoning, just a small fraction of the 28 acres of parkland promised to residents has materialized — in the form of the sliver of Bushwick Inlet Park that opened between North 7th and North 10th Streets in 2014.

And while the de Blasio administration said they have budgeted $225 million to buy three parcels for the park and to complete the first section, that doesn't include the cost of the CitiStorage site.

Now Norman Brodsky, who owns the land that's estimated to be worth $250 million, is negotiating with Related Companies for the sale of the property, according to Crain's New York. 

And even as the fate of the land sits in the balance, residents who've rallied for the completion of Bushwick Inlet Park interpreted De Blasio's statement as cause for celebration.

"This change in the city's position would never have come about without folks that have stepped up to fight for the park and our community's health," Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, a group of community residents advocating for the park, wrote in a Facebook post. 

"We've come a long way since the fire almost a year ago, but our work is not yet done."