Like a Phoenix, Red Hook Piers To Rise From Ashes

March 20, 2009 at 10:12 pm Leave a comment

The city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has added some meat and flesh to the bones provided in January for the reuse of the Atlantic Basin and most of the land and facilities around it in Red Hook.

The plan is to bring back to life all of this waterfront, which is now idle, except for the recently built cruise ship terminal, or underused.

The EDC confirmed two agreements for commercial use of the basin, Brooklyn’s first enclosed harbor, once totally walled by four-story warehouses, and one commitment to use part of the space for public access. It also promised to issue a request for proposals soon to create a working boat “parking garage” within the basin.

The core of this plan involves the use by Phoenix Beverages, a major beer distributor, of most of the Pier 11 sheds, which serve as the back “wall” of the basin, plus Pier 10 for off-loading shipments, as well as part of Pier 7, just south of Atlantic Avenue.

This city effort saves a few hundred jobs because the Queens-based company was close to being forced to move to New Jersey. An earlier effort had been to locate Phoenix on Pier 7 along with Brooklyn Brewery but this came a cropper because of confusion over the future of the Red Hook containerport.

Ships will be unloaded on the Buttermilk Channel side of Pier 10, much like the cruise ships on Pier 12, and then moved to the Pier 11 sheds. There will be no water shipments made to Pier 7. Shipments to or from Pier 7 will be on a special route carved out of space taken from upper areas of the containerport piers, closed for public use.

Truck shipments, estimated at about 100 a day, will be made early in the morning and will only use a very small part of Van Brunt Street before hooking up with the BQE-Gowanus.

Another major decision has also been made. The “nomadic” Mary Whalen, a 71-year-old former tanker, owned by PortSide New York, has finally earned a home. It will be moored at the most southern end of Pier 11 in a north-south direction.

Executive Director Carolina Salguero of PortSide said, “We now have a place for our purpose.” The ship will be used for maritime cultural and education purposes. PortSide will also have wharfage use of about 600 linear feet.

The main deck of the ship covers about 2,800 square feet, but considerably more space exists awaiting renovation.

EDC personnel note that there is a large parking lot dedicated to the cruise terminal that is not used except during cruise ship arrivals and departures. This is space that can be utilized more effectively than standing idle.

In addition, about 5,000 square feet in the shed on Pier 11 at the foot of Pioneer Street have been committed for public access to the waterfront. This will also include some shed access there.

The last major effort in this connection will be to send out a request for proposals to create mooring space for working boats within the basin. Several responses are expected.

When all these efforts are completed or wrapped up, the city will have achieved one its major development efforts along Brooklyn’s waterfront. This process, replete with awkward starts and stops, began about eight years ago.

The Beer Garden That Won’t Be (Maybe)

COLUMBIA WATERFRONT DISTRICT — About eight years ago, when the city first came up with development plans for the Columbia Street piers, the very large Pier 7 area was chosen to be a place where Brooklyn Brewery would brew all its beer and operate an old fashioned beer garden.

Many years later and many dropped balls, plus a-hard line attitude by operators of the Red Hook Container Port, which operates Pier 7, it does not look like there will be a beer garden ever located there.

But the original partner for Brooklyn Brewery, Phoenix Beverages, is going to take some space in the Pier 7 shed. And while the whole business doesn’t look encouraging for a beer garden, stranger things have happened on those piers.

Don’t throw away your bottle opener.

By Dennis Holt

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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