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Consultant Authorized to Analyze Nine Potential Funding Streams for Brooklyn Bridge Park

December 20, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Committee on Alternatives to Housing Authorizes Consultant to Analyze Nine Potential Funding Streams

by Brooklyn Bridge Park on Dec 20, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Committee on Alternatives to Housing Authorizes Consultant to Analyze Nine Potential Funding Streams

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Committee on Alternatives to Housing today authorized its consultant, Bay Area Economics (BAE), to analyze nine potential funding sources for the park. The areas that will be examined include ideas from the public gleaned from two public hearings and the submission of written statements, as well as ideas generated by BAE through its research of best practices for park funding. The nine areas are:

  1. Business Improvement District (BID) or Park Improvement District (PID)
  2. Fee-based recreation
  3. Events
  4. Additional concessions
  5. Commercial real estate development
  6. Advertising or Sponsorships (such as naming rights)
  7. Fundraising or Philanthropy
  8. Revenue from nearby Watchtower-Owned Properties
  9. Increased parking revenues

While BAE begins analyzing these nine alternatives, it will also continue their research into best practices and will bring any other potential alternate revenue sources to the Committee on Alternatives to Housing for authorization to include those alternatives in the study.

“The Committee on Alternatives to Housing was established to think creatively about potential funding sources for Brooklyn Bridge Park and examine their feasibility in a thoughtful way,” said New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Brooklyn Bridge Park Board Chairman Robert K. Steel. “Several ideas have been raised for further exploration, and we look forward to reviewing the work of the consultant.”

“I’ve always said there must be alternatives to housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park” said Assemblymember and Committee on Alternatives to Housing Member Daniel Squadron. “Today’s vote brings a non-housing funding plan one step closer to reality. It is encouraging that the City has agreed with the community to acknowledge that a number of alternatives may have real merit. Though I am disappointed that unanimity was not reached on the Tax Increment Financing component of my earlier Park Increment Recapture (PIRC) proposal, I am pleased that the Committee unanimously agreed to consider the Watchtower buildings, which were the most valuable properties in the PIRC proposal once the DUMBO rezoning was completed. I am pleased that 8 other alternatives also received support from the entire committee, including the Governor’s and Mayor’s appointees. I am confident that a fair, transparent process will yield numerous viable alternatives, and I look forward to completing this vital process and continuing the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park.”

Assemblywoman Joan Millman stated that “It is a positive step that both the Mayor’s and Governor’s representatives agreed to have Bay Area Economics (BAE) consider nine of a possible twelve funding proposals. Each of the agreed to alternatives to housing in the park merits further discussion and I look forward to the public comment period which will take place after BAE releases its draft report in mid – February. When Senator Squadron and I signed the Memorandum of Understanding we believed viable alternatives to housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park existed and one or more of the nine agreed to proposals may provide us with a needed funding stream to sustain our park.”

The Committee on Alternatives to Housing will release a draft of BAE’s report to the public in mid-February. This will be followed by a 60-day comment period during which the public will be invited to provide feedback on the draft report. During this period there will also be a public hearing to receive feedback on the draft report. Following the collection of all comments, a final report is expected to be released in Spring 2011. The Committee on Alternatives to Housing will then meet to determine which, if any, recommendations they will make to the full Brooklyn Bridge Park Board of Directors regarding alternative funding sources.

Background

On March 8, 2010, in anticipation of the transfer of control of Brooklyn Bridge Park to a City controlled entity, the City of New York, State Senator Daniel Squadron and State Assemblymember Joan Millman executed a Memorandum of Understanding that called for the creation of a Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing (now called the Committee on Alternatives to Housing) that would oversee an analysis of potential revenue sources that may replace all or a portion of the revenues currently projected from the Pier 6 and John Street residential sites for the funding of the Park’s maintenance and operations budget.

The Memorandum of Understanding specified that no alternative revenue source will be analyzed unless it meets the following two threshold parameters:

  1. The alternative source does not, in any way, displace revenue to which the City is otherwise entitled, and
  2. The timing of, and level of risk associated with, the revenue projected to be generated by such source is consistent with the projected timing of, and risk associated with, the revenue projected to be generated by the residential development at the John Street and Pier 6 sites.

The Memorandum of Understanding also outlined a specific process for the analysis which has guided the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and the Committee on Alternatives to Housing over the last several months. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, the following actions have been taken:

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park authorized the creation of the Committee on Alternatives to Housing on 9/22/10
  • The Committee on Alternatives to Housing met and authorized Brooklyn Bridge Park to release an Request For Proposals for an external consultant to aid in the analysis of alternate funding sources on 9/22/10
  • The Committee on Alternatives to Housing authorized Brooklyn Bridge Park to enter into a consulting contract with Bay Area Economics (BAE) pursuant to the October 21, 2010 Request for Proposals.
  • The Committee on Alternatives to Housing held two public hearings to solicit input and feedback from the community on November 30, 2010 and December 9, 2010, and accepted written statements until December 13th.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. More information is available on the park’s website: bbpprod2020.wpengine.com

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors. Spearheaded by NYC & Company, the initiative eventually will connect the nine major waterfront points of interest by ferry or bike greenways. In addition, NYHarborWay will develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the destinations are Governors Island, Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, the East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.

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