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Group Sues Brooklyn Bridge Park Over Controversial Pier 6 Tower Projects

 The Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
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Flickr/Shinya Suzuki

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A neighborhood advocacy group has filed yet another lawsuit against Brooklyn Bridge Park, claiming it violated the law in moving forward with controversial developments at Pier 6.

The lawsuit — filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association on Thursday against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC), the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and others — charges that the park broke legally binding documents governing the green space's growth when the BBPC's city-run board of directors last month approved the development of two condo towers at Pier 6.  

The BHA is suing park officials on the premise they misled the community in the development of the condo towers set to include affordable housing, as well as the separate Pierhouse project, which will “permanently disfigure the park,” the suit says.

The park, which stretches 1.3 miles along the East River, was built on the premise that income from residential and commercial development within the park would be necessary for its maintenance and operation.

But local groups such as the BHA, which have analyzed the park's finances independently, claim there is no financial need for the $500 million two-condo development at Pier 6.

“The BBPC is violating the fundamental commitment on which the BHA and the community supported the Park’s creation: that real estate development at the park would be limited to only the amount necessary to fund the Park’s financial needs,” BHA President Patrick Killackey said in a statement. 

“We need open space at the Park, not needless new condo towers.”  

The lawsuit alleges that BBPC misrepresented the anticipated profit from four of its new revenue-generating projects, including Pierhouse, in order to move forward with the Pier 6 development.

The BBPC also tried to modify its general project plan to remove the clause requiring financial need to proceed with additional development, and moved ahead with the development anyway when the ESD rejected its request to do so, the suit says.

The lawsuit lists several other “legal flaws” in the development of Pier 6, including the need for a new environmental review, since the current review from 2005 is “woefully out of date.”

The BBPC maintains it did not act improperly in planning the development of the condo towers, which would bring 400,000 square feet of new apartments to the pier.

“We're proud of our Pier 6 project and the meticulous, merit-based process that brought it to fruition,” BBP spokeswoman Belinda Cape said in an emailed statement. 

“We've exhaustively demonstrated that the Pier 6 development is essential to the long-term funding of the Park — in addition to providing sorely needed affordable housing and union jobs in the process. We're confident that we've satisfied all legal requirements, and look forward to ensuring that the Park will have the funding it needs to serve millions of New Yorkers long into the future."

RAL Development Services, one of the project’s developers, said it will continue to move forward with construction at Pier 6.

“We’re taking all necessary steps to proceed with union construction at Pier 6, and we're confident that the court will dismiss this frivolous attempt to block essential park funding and affordable housing,” a RAL spokesman said in a statement.

BHA Pier 6 Lawsuit by DNAinfo NewYork on Scribd