City Drastically Revises Red Hook Waterfront Plans

January 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

Beer Distributor Tapped To Take Over Entire Pier

The city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is returning to Red Hook’s Atlantic Basin with a symbolic hat in hand, but also with a new development plan that is ready to be executed.

The new plan, called a “balanced strategy,” replaces an earlier plan that suggested more glitz and glamour, but drew few if any responses to request for proposals. That plan was tied in with a more dramatic plan for the piers north of the basin that proved completely impractical.

These false starts and abrupt stops related to a goal to put Brooklyn’s waterfront piers from Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Basin — Piers 7 to 12 — to new use. As part of this goal, some planners hoped to evict of the Red Hook containerport from Piers 7 to 9.

That scheme completely backfired, and political and community opposition became intense. The upshot is that the containerport, operated by American Stevedoring, has a new 10-year lease and is staying exactly where it has been.

One company that was a victim of the failed plan, however, is now ready to become a linchpin of the new plan for Atlantic Basin. Phoenix Beverages, a major beer distributor, primarily of Heineken, was supposed to move to Pier 7. Under the new plan, it will now occupy all of Pier 11 and part of another building.

Pier 11 occupies the entire land base of the basin and, says the EDC, the amended plan will keep Phoenix in the city. (The original Pier 7 plan also included space for the Brooklyn Brewery, but that pioneering firm is still looking for a new home.)

The new strategy for the basin will also include a docking facility for harbor-operated boats, a cultural institution, a green space that will be part of the Brooklyn Greenway, and a home port for the Governors Island ferry. The basin will continue to serve the new cruise terminal on Pier 12, which last season handled 300,000 passengers.

All this news was revealed Monday evening at a meeting of two committees of Community Board 6. About a year ago, the EDC overhauled its maritime planning staff. Vice President Venetia Lannon of the EDC presented the revised plan.

This time around, EDC had done its political planning in a timely manner and seems to have discussed its plans with expected participants who will probably respond to requests for proposals (RFPs). Community Board 6 requested the meeting to be briefed on the EDC plan.

Also at the presentation was Tom Fox of New York Water Taxi, who has indicated an interest in using the basin to tie up his boats. In addition, Carolina Salguero, head of PortSide New York spoke on her plans to make the group’s ship, the Mary Whalen, a maritime-related cultural center.

Phoenix To Rise, Although Not From the Ashes

Negotiations with Phoenix Beverages are expected to be finished in March. RFPs are expected to be released in February for the boat tie-ups and for the cultural component.

Fallon noted that Phoenix’ move to the basin would generate about 500 jobs in Red Hook and would eliminate about 20,000 truck trips a year from New Jersey to the city.

Fallon reported that the Phoenix operation would call for about 100 truck trips a day, all of which would be routed down Bowne Street to Van Brunt and to Hamilton Avenue and the BQE. Almost all these trips, she said, would take place before the morning rush hour.

In addition, Phoenix has agreed to convert its trucks from gasoline to compressed natural gas.

No timetables were indicated, but some parts of the plan could well be initiated this year.

By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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Entry filed under: Brooklyn, Go Coastal, Working Waterfront.

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