June 10, 2016: Yesterday, the de Blasio administration announced that it has made an offer of $100 million to acquire an 11-acre waterfront property that is the final parcel of land necessary to build out the full 27 acres of parkland for Bushwick Inlet Park. The offer is another important milestone for OSA’s partner, the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, in its longstanding advocacy effort to secure the land necessary to build the full 27-acre park, as promised by the City to the community during the 2005 rezoning of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
In a letter sent to site owners Norman Brodsky and Samuel Kaplan, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said purchasing the remaining land, known as the CitiStorage site, is crucial to complete the City’s plan for the park. The privately owned land is located on the Williamsburg waterfront west of Kent Avenue between N. 10th and N. 12th Streets. The land is zoned for industrial use or parkland.
The City’s offer has the support of all of the local electeds. Councilmember Steve Levin said the offer would make good on a promise made by the city before the mayor took office and have a tremendous positive impact on the community for generations to come. “In 2005, the City of New York promised the community a 27 acre park and finally under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership the City has made good on that promise and that is remarkable. It’s extraordinary,” said Councilmember Levin.
According to Adam Perlmutter, the chairman of the OSA board of directors and a lawyer representing the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park and OSA in its negotiations with the City, “The property can’t be valued as anything other than heavy industrial land according to a 1943 Supreme Court ruling that states that a property owner in a condemnation proceeding can’t profit from an increase in land value surrounding the condemned property.” The current market price for such land would value the property at between $73 million and $88 million.
The Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, OSA and the area’s elected officials have been advocating for the full 27-acre park not only because it was promised by the City, but also because North Brooklyn, which was formerly a heavily industrial area, has one of the lowest ratios of open space per person in New York City.
The saga of Bushwick Inlet Park began in 2005 when the area was mapped as parkland as part of a rezoning of North Brooklyn waterfront. During the Bloomberg years, the city began work to build Bushwick Inlet Park parcels at 86 Kent Avenue, which was developed as the first phase of the park. The second parcel at 50 Kent Avenue is currently undergoing remediation and is expected to reopen to the public next year. To date, the city has spent nearly $225 million to acquire the waterfront land and develop it. Under de Blasio, the city has acquired two additional plots of land, which are both now undergoing demolition and remediation.