Tower Near Brooklyn Bridge Approved
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | June 12, 2009
Despite objections from historian David McCullough and filmmaker Ken Burns, a developer has won permission to build an 17-story tower that will obstruct views of New York's fabled Brooklyn Bridge.
On Wednesday city council members voted 40-9 to approve a building plan submitted by Brooklyn-based Two Trees Management Co. Construction will begin in about a year and is expected be completed by 2012.
"The Brooklyn Bridge belongs to all America," McCullough wrote in a letter dated June 11 to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "Nothing should be permitted to upstage it, or needlessly crowd its space. Would we wish to see an 18-story building go up beside the Statue of Liberty? Or Independence Hall? Or the Lincoln Memorial?"
Markowitz rejected another version of the tower in 2004. But in February 2009 he did an about-face, voicing support for the revised Dock Street Dumbo complex, which will include apartments, retail space, and a 300-student middle school.
"We are grateful for today's vote," Jed Walentas, a principal in Two Trees Management Co., said in a statement. "Two Trees is both honored and proud to be able to provide the community with a new middle school, affordable housing and a thoughtful, environmentally friendly green building that will add to the vibrant, historic waterfront neighborhood of Dumbo."
The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Brooklyn’s Industrial Waterfront to its 2007 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places because the neighborhoods near the Brooklyn Bridge leads were becoming threatened by inappropriate development. Two years ago, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission granted historic designation to Dumbo, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, a rapidly developing area.
"This isn't the end," says Doreen Gallo, executive director of the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance, formed in 1997. "We're examining all legal options."
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