On the Waterfront


Representative Jerry Nadler came out swinging last night at the scoping meeting for the New York Economic Development Corporation’s planned redevelopment for Piers 7 through 10 on the Carroll Gardens/Red Hook Waterfront. Mr. Nadler opposed the transformation of Pier 10–currently used for maritime shipping–into a second cruise-ship terminal and 250-room hotel.

Citing the vulnerability of the Kill Van Kull–which connects Newark Bay and the Upper New York Bay and is the principal access for container ships to the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the 15th-busiest port in the world–Mr. Nadler said that the shipping operations must continue in Brooklyn. “The Kill Van Kull is too narrow and shallow for the [metropolitan] area to depend on it,” Mr. Nadler said, noting that if by accident or terrorism a ship sunk in the narrow straight, the economy of the region would be seriously affected. The Red Hook piers would be needed if any traffic to New Jersey is disrupted.

Mr. Nadler also emphasized the importance of retaining blue-collar jobs in the area, calling the redevelopment a “mad vision of New York where there are as few blue-collar jobs as possible” to thunderous applause from the audience of area residents, business owners and union workers from the nearby docks.

Matt Yates, the director of American Group RHCT, echoed Mr. Nadler’s sentiments, saying that the city is failing to fully appreciate the effects of a port closure. “This is a quick and dirty process where the Republican administration wants to wrest control of public property.” The land is question is owned by the Port Authority, a state agency, and is leased out to American Stevedoring.

Shortly after Mr. Yates spoke, E.D.C. vice president Kate Ascher left the meeting–before area residents could address her.

The E.D.C.’s plan includes 350 units of housing on the west side of Columbia Street between Atlantic Avenue and Degraw Street. Reactions from area residents were mixed; while most agreed that more housing was desirable, there was concern that the units would be market-rate, and that current views from Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens would be blocked. Several speakers, including John McGettrick of the Red Hook Civic Association, noted that Red Hook, across the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to the south, is in desperate need of new housing and residential buildings should be developed there.

Other speakers at the meeting insisted that the E.D.C. try to develop a plan that would not decrease the number of waterfront jobs. The plan currently would allow Piers 7 through 9 to continue shipping operations.

Mr. Yates, outside the meeting, expressed confidence that the development plan would ultimately stall. “It’s bound to fail,” he said, noting that with the probable election of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to the Governorship later this year, the P.A. would quit “dancing to the development whims of the Mayor.”

The E.D.C. hopes to begin the land-use review process later this year, with a vote from the City Council by next summer. Land acquisition would follow shortly thereafter.

Click here for enlarged map.

Key from the E.D.C..’s draft E.I.S.:

Parcel A: This approximately 49-acre parcel would be dedicated entirely to marine terminal and industrial/manufacturing uses. It is anticipated that Pier 7 would include a brewery, and an associated 40,000 sf beer garden. Piers 8, 9A and 9B would be utilized for warehouse/distribution, a general cargo pier for containers and break bulk cargo and other similar uses. The uses on this parcel would be predominantly maritime in nature, with warehousing and shipment functions. The approximately 623,200 sf of floor area in the three existing pier sheds are assumed to be re-used for these uses, while the remainder of the lot area is assumed to continue being utilized by marine terminal/container/storage activity.

Parcel B: Passenger cruise ship terminal on Pier 10, as well as an approximately 250-room hotel with approximately 40,000 sf of conference/meeting facilities, and approximately 2 acres of open space are assumed to occupy this parcel.

Parcel C: For this parcel, the RWCDS assumes approximately 71,400 sf of light industrial, warehousing and office uses.

Parcel D: For analysis purposes, this small parcel is assumed to be occupied by space for artists and galleries, with an estimated 24,000 sf.

Parcel E: As shown in Table 1, the RWCDS assumptions for this parcel consist of approximately 34,700 sf of retail uses, and a total of 152,400 sf of light industrial, warehousing and office uses.

Parcel F: This parcel is assumed to be occupied by up to approximately 147,200 sf of light industrial and warehousing uses.

Parcel G: This parcel, which is the only parcel located directly on Atlantic Basin, would accommodate a variety of uses that would create a Dynamic Maritime Marketplace concept, including retail, markets, restaurants, performing arts, education (a 25,000 sf trade school), arts and crafts, light industrial, office, maritime (marine services, ship repair, fueling, boat lift, ferry, etc), recreation, a marina with up to 200 slips, and open space uses. Some of those uses would re-use the existing 168,000 sf shed on Pier 11.

Parcels H and I: These two small parcels, located at the back of two existing buildings on Imlay Street, are assumed to accommodate cafes/restaurants.

Parcel J: This parcel is assumed to be occupied by approximately 50,400 sf of retail, and up to 96,800 sf of light industrial/warehousing uses.

Parcel K: Artists studios, arts and crafts, retail, restaurant, office and maritime uses are assumed to occupy this parcel, totaling up to approximately 177,100 sf.

Parcel K: Artists studios, arts and crafts, retail, restaurant, office and maritime uses are assumed to occupy this parcel, totaling up to approximately 177,100 sf.

Parcel L: This parcel is occupied by the new cruise ship terminal on Pier 12, and would remain unchanged under future With-Action conditions.

Parcel M: The RWCDS assumes that the two existing office buildings between Kane and Warren Streets, which are currently occupied by offices for the Port Authority and the Waterfront Commission, would remain. These offices are estimated to consist of approximately 61,700 sf. The remainder of the parcel is assumed to be developed with approximately 37,700 sf of ground floor retail and approximately 350 dwelling units (assuming 1,000 gsf per unit).

-Matthew Grace On the Waterfront