December 6, 2011 / News / Brooklyn Heights / Brooklyn Bridge ‘Park’

Secret’s out! Under pressure, Bklyn Bridge Park reveals hotel selection committee members

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Brooklyn Bridge Park has released the names of the city officials who will ultimately decide which hotel and luxury condo complex is built on Pier 1 — succumbing to pressure after locals slammed park officials for a lack of transparency.

On Monday, park staff revealed the four members on the heretofore mysterious selection committee: Regina Myer and David Lowin of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation; Joshua Laird of the Parks Department; and Joshua Gelfman of the Economic Development Corporation.

A spokeswoman for the park defended the original secrecy as standard “city practice,” but agreed to officially reveal the names because the officials’ identities had become known to a handful of residents on the park’s powerless “community advisory council.”

Local park-lovers and members of the council were infuriated last month after park bigwigs presented seven proposals for a high-end hotel but wouldn’t reveal who was on the project’s selection committee — saying that the city would choose a developer behind closed doors before spring.

The park’s recent about-face, however, doesn’t impress some locals who are calling the entire selection “an undemocratic process.”

“If they truly want to make a world-class park, they should include the people who will be using it,” said Judi Francis of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense, which has long opposed condos inside the park. “Instead these are private individuals who are making decisions outside of the public realm.”

Seven big names in real estate including Toll Brothers, RAL Companies, and Two Trees Management are vying to build luxury hotel and residential complex along Furman Street, just south of a park entrance at the foot of Old Fulton Street.

The winning firm would build a 170- to 225-room hotel, a 150- to 180-unit residential building, a restaurant, and at least 300 parking spaces, according to city’s plan. Taxes from the complex will go toward the park’s $16-million annual maintenance budget.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is accepting public comments via e-mail to brooklynbridgepark@bbpnyc.org until Dec. 22.

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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