Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Updated Future of the Atlantic Basin, Pier 11, and Pier 7 (CB6 Meeting last night)


For those who weren't at last night's Community Board 6 meeting in Red Hook, it got pretty intense at points. Booing, cursing, and yelling are never pretty in community gatherings, which in an ideal world should remain civil and courteous.

That being said, I've decided to make this post mostly about the actual plans for the waterfront, which are pretty much a done deal at this point, rather than focusing on the negatives that people see in what is or isn't included in the plans.

THE PLAN - Based on a presentation by Venetia Lannon of the Economic Development Corporation at the CB6 Meeting on 3/16/09

1) The Southern end of Pier 11 will go to PortSide NY, including a portion of the warehouses, the outdoor space, and the Atlantic Basin. This will allow PortSide to station its mascot, the tanker Mary Whalen, in a publicly accessible space as well as host cultural events, waterfront tours, youth programs, educational programs, and more. The outdoor space will be publicly accessible and, through the help of PortSide, could also be used to invite other historic ships to the Brooklyn waterfront or host community events, such as markets, fairs, art shows, etc.

2) There will be a Governor's Island Visitor's Center at Building 185, which lies to the South of Pier 11. There will be ferry service departing from the pier that will take visitors directly to Governor's Island to enjoy park space, bike paths, and everything else that the island has to offer. It is estimated to be a 1 minute ferry ride from the Basin.

3) The space in the Atlantic Basin not utilized by PortSide or the Governor's Island Ferry will be utilized for tie ups of other ferries and workboats. It was stated that there will RFPs issued for deciding which boats can use this space.

4) The Brooklyn Greenway will be accomodated along Pier 11, as opposed to along Van Brunt. This will extend the existing portion of the Greenway further South, as well as allow for a ride directly along the waterfront.

5) Phoenix Beverages will occupy the remaining portion of the Pier 11 storage shed (the Northern side of it). They will use this space for storage, break down, and distribution of kegs. Phoenix will not be shipping into the Atlantic Basin, but rather into Pier 10 (the one to the North of Pier 11) and will forklift the loads over to Pier 11.

- Phoenix will also occupy Pier 7 through a separate deal with American Stevedoring Inc. (the EDC only has control over Piers 11 and 12). This will be for their case beer and spirit operations. Spirits is a new business for them, and they will be partnering with spirit companies such as Southern Spirits.

- To address concerns of traffic and pollution, representatives from the EDC, Phoenix, and the Port Authority mentioned the following:
  • Phoenix's trucks will be converted to run using CNG (compressed natural gas). The EDC plans to make the penalty for not meeting this requirement strict - with one possible punishment being default of the lease.
  • A large majority of the traffic will leave through Pier 7, which has direct access to the BQE via Atlantic Avenue
  • The Port Authority will work to re-orient the exit from Pier 7 to cause even less interference by trucks accessing the BQE
  • The truck traffic will be equivalent to the traffic that existed when ASI imported Cocoa to the port, which didn't end until fairly recently.
Key differences between what is presented here and what was presented at the meeting in January:
  • PortSide will definitely be the cultural use, rather than a suggested one
  • The Greenway will definitely be accomodated along the waterfront, rather than up for debate
  • Phoenix will occupy Pier 7 and part of Pier 11, rather than just Pier 11.
The first phases of this plan, such as PortSide events, should begin as early as this summer, while the plan in its entirety should be in operation within about 2 years.

The Negatives
While I choose not to focus on the perceived negatives, I do feel the following are worthy of mentioning and should not be overlooked:

1) It is very upsetting that the community was led to believe at the meeting in January that if Per 7 were made available, Phoenix would be able to move there and proposed uses for Pier 11 and the Atlantic Basin would be re-ealuated (i.e. the suggested use of Tom Fox's NY Water Taxi Company). Pier 7 was made available, but rather than re-avaluate, the Phoenix operation was expanded to include both piers.

2) The existing business at Buidling 185, BDI, seems to be continually neglected in this process. The EDC should make a serious effort to acknowledge them and assist them in relocating within the neighborhood.

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For a map of many of the key sites in discussion, click here

For Brooklyn Daily Eagle's coverage of this, click here

For my post on the plans presented at the CB6 meeting presented in January, click here

2 comments:

Mike Webster said...

I agree on the pier 11/7 Phoenix opinion. I wish someone had asked Venetia from EDC why she was neglecting to mention that the sq footage in the pier 7 shed is about twice that of the pier 11 shed. So, if Phoenix were only in the pier 7 shed, they would get 2x as much shed space. By being in pier 7 and pier 11, they're getting almost 3 times the space.

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