Condos a go? Foes say no

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s first luxury condos will soon hit the market – complete with an indoor driving range and private rooftop cabanas – even as opponents gear up to file a lawsuit to stop them.

Officials won’t yet say how much the 450 swanky condominiums at the old Jehovah’s Witnesses distribution center at 360 Furman St. will cost.

Developer Robert Levine has launched an all-out marketing push for the property – dubbed One Brooklyn Bridge Park – including two large signs on the vacant building that can be seen from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

The move has sparked outrage from neighborhood advocates battling state plans to build 1,240 luxury condos in the park to help pay its annual $15 million maintenance costs.

“This is premature,” said Bob Stone of the Brooklyn Bridge Defense Fund, which expects to file the suit this spring.

“It’s an effort to stampede the process,” Stone said. “They want to give everyone the impression that it’s a done deal.”

Park planners argue the park was always supposed to be self-sustaining and that housing brings in the most money. Critics say private residences don’t belong in a public park.

“We’re pursuing every legal means to prevent private housing in the park,” said Defense Fund President Judi Francis.

In marketing materials, Levine has trumpeted the building’s “exquisite waterfront views” and “lush 85-acre park setting,” a meditation room and “refrigerated storage for grocery delivery.”

“In addition,” the materials read, “residents may purchase their own … private riverfront cabanas.”

The apartments – ranging from studios to four-bedroom lofts – will be ready in about a year, a spokeswoman said.

The building will be the largest of the five or six condo and hotel buildings planned for the park – though park planners have yet to say exactly how much it will bring to the park’s coffers.

“The public should have been told before the project was approved,” said City Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights), who has called for the least residential development possible.

Park planners said the deal is still under negotiation.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
New York Daily News, USA
Feb. 7, 2006
Elizabeth Hays, Daily News Staff Writer

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday February 8, 2006.
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