Community Board 2, which covers the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and a portion of Brooklyn Heights, held its monthly meeting Wednesday.
Leading topics for the April meeting included details of the planned expansion of Steiner Studios, an update on the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District and a controversial vote by the Board to assume full oversight of the Atlantic Yards territory, also shared with Community Boards 2, 6 and 8.
Brooklyn Navy Yard— David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, provided an update on the industrial park’s forthcoming expansion, which will focus on six areas:
• The Green Manufacturing Center (about a year away from completing restoration): $60 million project that will create 400 jobs; will house Crye Precision (military apparel) and New Lab (an incubator for creative/additive manufacturing).
• Building 77: At 1,000,000 sq. ft and 17 stories, it is the 2nd largest building in Brooklyn; takes up roughly 25 percent of yard’s existing space. Will create about 1500 jobs when complete
• The Naval Hospital/Annex: Will be updating and restoring the infrastructure and buildings
• The Memorial Landscape Open Space: The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative will develop a memorial landscape along the Greenway which will allow passive recreational use; a tasteful boardwalk that is laid over the ground encouraging the growth of indigenous plants and wildlife
• Admirals Row: Will house a large-scale supermarket on the corner of the site, with an industrial space above that will lease for retail, commercial, office and recreational use. Will bring in 200 light industrial jobs and around 350 retail jobs. (will be issuing an RFP in the spring/summer of 2014 for a developer that can identify a supermarket)
• Bldg 92: Will deliver space for a visitor’s center that will provide tours and exhibitions. The building also will serve as an employment center that will provide employment readiness, internships and job training for positions opening on-site
A board member asked whether there were any plans to open the space up a bit more to the public. Ehrenberg answered that it was something they were discussing:
“To be honest, the wall is important to us, because we are an industrial park, because we have trucks that are idling,” Ehrenberg said. “We are aware that industrial usages are a challenge to integrate into residential neighborhoods. So at this point, our intention is to maintain the wall, but continue our efforts to soften it, and invite people in so that it’s not just a place that you bring your car.”
Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID)— Simeon Bankoft, executive director of the Historic Districts Council discussed the “Six to to Celebrate,” program, which chooses 6 community groups annually to provide consulting and support service on landmarking and other issues. He discussed the six current projects for 2014, one of which includes the Atlantic Avenue BID: “One of the things that really excited us about working on Atlantic Avenue is that this is the first time we’ve partnered with a BID,” Bankoft said. “And also because we feel it is an interesting addition to working with the community and we’re very exited.”
Josef Szende, executive director of planning at the AABID provided an update on planned activities for the BID through 2012. He said plans include developing the area as a local tourist destination: “We want people visiting the borough and those who also live here to begin thinking about Atlantic Avenue as a place where you want to spend the day; we really want to highlight ourselves and be an important place on the itinerary when visiting Brooklyn.”
On May 3, the BID will begin leading a tour for those who are interested, that will go the length of the avenue, pointing out historic buildings and providing some history of how Atlantic Avenue developed. They are working to be included on the National register, fundraise and provide Kids Activity sheets for local restaurants to build interest and involvement in the historic value of the area.
They are requesting input from longtime residents are interested in contributing information and time to these efforts.
Councilmember Laurie Cumbo spoke briefly: Vision Zero (slow zones) will be implemented first on Atlantic Avenue for 8 miles, beginning in District 2.
“That was a huge victory for us,” said Cumbo. “We’re actually in the budget process, so we’re making decisions around capitol and expense projects now.”
Cumbo also is championing a movement around “Pay Equity,” for women. “We believe that if women are whole individuals, we should be getting our fair share of pay. It’s been a very exciting time in the district.”
Cumbo’s district office space has opened, located at One Hanson Place on the 2nd floor. WE’ve opened our district office at One Hanson Place on 2nd floor.
Robert Perris, CB2 district manager, didn’t have a formal report.
Committees for Board Action
Parks & Recreation, have met with Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries regarding the Prisoner of Warship Monument in Fort Greene Park. Jeffries has secured two co-sponsors to submit to committee at congress, calling for a feasibility study to bring the monument under federal jurisdiction (to request more funding for statue’s restoration); the committee asked CB2 for a letter of support for the bill, H.R. 1501. The Committee approved.
Transportation and Public Safety
Asked the committee for a vote of approval on four locations for new bike corals along Fulton Street at Rockwell Place, Washington Avenue, S. Oxford and St. James Place. The Committee approved.
Executive Committee Action Report— Co-terminality of Atlantic Yards
Robert Perris, proposed the committee approve a motion to adjust the district boundaries of the Atlantic Yards so that all of Atlantic Yards is contained within in CB2. Currently the boundaries also include parts of CB 2, 6 and 8, including the communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill.
The initial proposal of co-terminality came in August 2013 by John Harrison.
“My perspective, as a municipal manager, is is that it is inefficient for three district managers to manage one development site into what is essentially a new neighborhood unto itself,” said Perris, referring to the management of city services such as parking and sanitation.
A handful of CB2 committee members expressed concern that the matter had not been discussed first and settled with the other districts, with one member even stating, it will appear that CB2 is trying to make a “land grab.”
However, Perris pointed out, since the matter was first raised nearly a decade ago (during the first phase of the Atlantic Yards buildout and development), any efforts to bring a discussion to the table with all parties have been unsuccessful. And time was running out.
Perris added, “I just don’t think it makes any sense for one sanitation garage to be picking up two-thirds of the garbage and another to be picking up another one-third,” said Perris. “However, there are also political realities; it is unlikely there will be any changes to the boundaries unless the other community boards agree to them.”
A board member moved to table the decision until all CB districts could come together and talk more, but it was voted down.
Another board member pointed out that if the redistricting is not done this go-around, it won’t happen for another ten years, after the next Census.
Taking the first step to at least move on the issue will at the very least get the discussion started, said Perris. Another board member suggested having the Borough President Eric Adams mediate the discussion.
The board voted 22 in favor of moving the boundaries so that all of Atlantic Yards be included in CB2.