25 Kent Ave

Park activists, Beep: Use giant office complex to fund Bushwick Inlet Park

Brooklyn Paper
April 18, 2016
By Madeline Anthony

The city should use property taxes from a controversial office complex planned for the Williamsburg waterfront to fund a long-promised park next door, says a local green-space advocate group.

The activists have been pushing for the city to make good on its 10-year-old pledge to create a 28-acre park on the neighborhood’s waterfront, and are now endorsing a recent suggestion from Borough President Adams that it sell bonds based on the proposed building’s projected tax windfall to finally make it happen.

“We support it,” said Greenpoint resident Steve Chesler, co-chair of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park. “It’s a good, creative way to solve the larger problem.”

Local developer Toby Moskowitz is pitching an eight-story office building at Kent Street and West Avenue with a small amount of manufacturing space inside, but needs the city’s okay to go ahead with it because it would be in a so-called “industrial business zone” — an area the city set aside for blue-collar businesses.

The Beep gave his blessing on April 12, arguing the property will bring businesses and jobs back to the area — which is currently more popular with lucrative but low-employing hotels and nightclubs — while loosening the onerous building regulations that have kept new industrial businesses away.

But the development also happens to be adjacent to where the city promised to build Bushwick Inlet Park when rezoning much of the waterfront for huge luxury apartments in 2005, before claiming it could no longer afford the to buy all the land it needed. So Adams gave his approval on the condition that the city consider using one project to finance the other, and Chesler says his group is on board if it means the park will finally get finished…

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