On Dock Street, Victory Is Near for Walentases

jameswalentas 1 On Dock Street, Victory Is Near for WalentasesBrooklyn developers Jed and David Walentas appear on the course to victory in the fight over their Dock Street project in DUMBO, a 17-story residential building near the Brooklyn Bridge that has caused a fight within the City Council.

A vote on the project is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and Council Speaker Christine Quinn told a Council member on Wednesday that she intended to support the project, according to that member. With the speaker’s support, voting down the project would be a difficult task for project opponents.

Politically, the project has been defined by a rift between Councilman David Yassky and Councilwoman Letitia James. Mr. Yassky, who represents the district, has been an unwavering opponent, saying the tower is far too tall. Ms James, who represents the neighboring district, is normally no friend of development but has come out in strong support because of a school in the building.

The dynamic is an unusual one, as traditionally the entire Council defers to the local Cmember on land-use projects, and in this case, a vote of approval would be a clear rebuke of Mr. Yassky. Ms. James has argued that the inclusion of a middle school supersedes the Council tradition, as it elevates it to a citywide issue.

The scheduled vote comes as recent advocacy efforts for the project focused on Speaker Quinn. On Monday, and again Wednesday morning, Ms. Quinn went on site tours—first with the opponents and then with the developers—to weigh the arguments surrounding the project. 

ebrown@observer.com