The city has reached a $160 million deal with multi-millionaire entrepreneur Norm Brodsky, who for over a decade stood between North Brooklyn residents and their dream of a 28-acre park at Bushwick Inlet.
Former-Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised the park during a 2005 Brooklyn waterfront rezoning that paved the way for luxury condominium development. But the cost of acquiring the land ballooned, and Bloomberg admitted in 2011 that he couldn't afford Brodsky's CitiStorage parcel. The charred, 11-acre property on North 10th Street cuts through the middle of the long-stalled park.
The de Blasio administration has bought up bits and pieces since, but CitiStorage has remained elusive. Community members bit their nails earlier this year when Brodsky rejected—and apparently mocked—the city's $100 million offer for the property, launching his own appeal for buyers and indicating that he'd happily sell the site to a developer of office space, for the right price.
"Today is the day we begin turning the full vision of Bushwick Inlet Park into a reality. After an extensive negotiation, we have struck a fair agreement to acquire the CitiStorage site," said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. "This is an investment in the future of Brooklyn, and in the children, longtime residents and newcomers in this community."
"Our administration keeps its promises," he added. "When we commit to build a new park or a new school in a growing community, we deliver. We look forward to working with local officials, activists and residents as we design and build a Bushwick Inlet Park we can all be proud of."
This week's agreement lands well below Brodsky's $325 million ask. For context, the NY Times reports that the city spent $225 million buying up nine acres of the proposed 28. In March, it dropped $53 million for another seven acres. Over a year ago Bushwick Inlet had already exceeded the Highline in taxpayer costs.
Reached on Tuesday, Brodsky praised Brooklyn Councilmember Stephen Levin for keeping the negotiations rolling. "I'm thrilled that the city has finally lived up to their promise for the community," he said. "This certainly never would have happened without Steve Levin's tenacity."
Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park co-chair Steve Chesler got the good news this morning, while disembarking an airplane in Florida. "We're kind of in awe and in shock," he said. "We kind of knew that things were working gradually towards a deal but we heard things were still precarious and fragile."
"It's a lot of money but the alternative would have been horrific," Chesler added. "Not just more development, but more development on promised open space." This upcoming March, he said, will be the 12 year anniversary of Bloomberg's promise.
"We look forward to working with our community partners to realize a vision for Bushwick Inlet Park that truly serves Williamsburg-Greenpoint," said Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
The city will need to conduct extensive environmental remediation on the CitiStorage site before it can put forward a timeline for park development, according to the Parks Department.