Open space activists rarely sit still, however, being champions of movement and activity (ideally on a well-appointed lawn). Here are a few recent developments in the saga of the hotly anticipated Bushwick Inlet Park.
1. Midtown Equities is selling one of its properties in downtown Brooklyn for $200 million, which is also, coincidentally, the amount it would need to purchase the CitiStorage property from owner Norm Brodsky.
A “source familiar with the deal” told Crain’s that the two deals weren’t related, but local activist Kim Fraser (Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park) thinks the developer is getting “really close” to sealing the deal.
“You just have to read in between the lines and try to figure out what’s really going on,” she told Greenpointers. “We just feel it — it’s not because anyone said anything to us or gave us concrete factual information, but various people in our group have been involved in fighting for the waterfront for a long time. It’s not the first time members of the group have been up on this horse, and they kind of know the way it goes down.”
Of course, cash isn’t what’s ultimately keeping Midtown Equities from scooping up the property. Before that could happen, the property would have to be rezoned for residential use, and that’s what activists like Fraser are currently campaigning against.
At press time, Midtown Equities had not responded to a request for comment.
2. We mentioned that there’s been some campaigning against the deal, but we didn’t tell you it involved a marching funeral.
Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park marched into the offices of Midtown Equities dressed in full funeral regalia with a casket in tow. It read: “Midtown Equities Tower Deal DOA RIP.” Another sign, shaped like a tombstone, read: “CitiStorage Rezoning RIP.”
3. Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park has gotten a lot of hands on deck to encourage a ban on any change in zoning related to the CitiStorage property. The group says it’s been working with Community Board 1 and city, state, and federal representatives to create a front of solidarity against a residential rezoning.
Together, in a “show of unprecedented resolve,” the groups wrote a letter to de Blasio demanding a ban on rezoning, according to a statement released by Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park on Oct. 27. Signees included State Senator Daniel Squadron, Joseph Lentol, Assemblyman for North Brooklyn, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Councilman Steve Levin.
“A decade ago we were promised a park, but it still hasn’t been delivered,” said Squadron, “and I stand together with my city, state, and federal colleagues, and the community in calling for the City to fulfill their commitments, and in opposing rezoning at the site.”
The letter is a reflection of the unanimous resolution passed by Community Board 1 earlier this month, which calls for a ban on rezoning that would in any way impede the completion of Bushwick Inlet Park.
“There is no equivocation, only consensus,” added Lentol. “I urge the city to move forward with the purchase of the full 27 acre parcel for Bushwick Inlet Park. You owe it to North Brooklyn, and you owe it to my constituents’ quality of life.”
“This letter sends a strong message of unity,” said Levin. “The CitiStorage site was always intended to be parkland and we as elected officials will not support any effort to use it for any other purpose. North Brooklyn deserves its park.”