After over a decade of uncertainty, the city has struck a deal to acquire the final 11 acres needed to complete Bushwick Inlet Park. The parcel of land on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront, a subject of controversy for years, will be purchased for $160 million, according to announcement from the mayor’s office.
The sale has been a longtime coming. The 27-acre park was promised by Mayor Bloomberg as part of the area’s 2005 rezoning, but only a portion of it was opened in 2011, when the city announced that it didn’t have the money to acquire the rest of the land. Another section of the necessary land was finally acquired earlier this year.
The final parcel has been a subject of intense controversy ever since a warehouse on the site went up in a seven-alarm blaze in February of 2015. Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, a group of community members and local politicians, insisted that the city fulfill its promise to acquire the land and touched off a series of protests that, at various times, involved a countdown clock, a campout, a flash mob, and even a faux funeral.
The city initially offered $100 million for the property, but its owner, Norman Brodsky, described that as “low ball” and put the parcel up for auction with the belief that he might get $250 million for it.
Today, Brodsky tweeted this:
It’s done Williamsburg has its park
— Norm Brodsky (@NormBrodsky) November 22, 2016
In a statement, Mayor de Blasio touted the “fair agreement” and said, “Our administration keeps its promises. When we commit to building a new park or a new school in a growing community, we deliver. We look forward to working with local officials, activists and residents as we design and build a Bushwick Inlet Park we can all be proud of.”
Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, which had criticized de Blasio for being slow to assure North Brooklyn residents that the parkland would be acquired, applauded him in a statement released today. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Borough President Eric Adams, Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, State Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Dilan, Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, and Public Advocate Letitia James were also named as people “who worked so hard to keep the City honest.”
We kept our promise: Today, NYC is better & fairer with purchase of land to complete Bushwick Inlet Park.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 22, 2016
Borough President Adams described today as “a truly momentous day for the residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg.”
Squadron, who had introduced a bill that would allow the state to acquire the park via imminent domain, said in a statement, “I look forward to working with the community and my colleagues as we move Bushwick Inlet Park forward, and build that long-promised expansion of our Harbor Park — a Central Park for the center of our city.”
City Council member Stephen Levin, who fought to bring the parkland to his district, announced that he was “beyond overjoyed” that “long after we are gone, a completed Bushwick Inlet Park will continue to serve the community and bring joy to the residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.” He thanked Brodsky for “coming to the table and ending this saga on a positive note.”