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  1. #1

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    NY Times...

    Competing Ideas to Develop Brooklyn Waterfront
    By ANDY NEWMAN

    Things are starting to happen on Brooklyn's most promising stretch of undeveloped waterfront. Sort of.

    At the end of North 12th Street in Williamsburg, on a lot now filled with oil tanks, a man named Adam Victor, assisted by the son of a famed Soviet dissident, wants to build a $1 billion Frank Gehry-inspired complex lined with art galleries, video galleries and a sculpture park. It would be, Mr. Victor said, "representative of the thriving artistic community that is the north side of Williamsburg."

    It would also, not incidentally, house an 1,100-megawatt power plant, big enough to light a million homes.

    Just to the north, a woman who sometimes dresses in Civil War uniforms to deliver school lectures hopes to buy a cove from a Saudi-owned oil company for a museum dedicated to the warship Monitor, the Union ironclad, which was built nearby.

    To the south, one of Mr. Victor's potential neighbors has a big "Fight the Power" mural painted on the side of his building. This gesture of grass-roots solidarity with local preservationists is motivated largely by the man's fears that the plant would kill any chance for him to build a 34-story apartment tower on his parcel.

    That would be right next to the spot where the city proposes to hold the beach volleyball competition at the 2012 Olympics.


    Of all the wasted waterfronts in the city, the crumbling stretch of the East River in Williamsburg and Greenpoint might be the biggest. It is at the foot of two of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods, yet for years its breathtaking views of Manhattan have been enjoyed only by rats and trespassers.

    Certainly, not all of these visions will be realized. If the last 20 years of attempts to redevelop the Williamsburg waterfront are any indication, none of them may. What happens next will depend to some degree on what the Bloomberg administration wants, and that has been a mystery.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has promised grand plans for housing and parks on the waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. But the city is in dire need of electricity, and it is reluctant to chase off a potential supplier at a time utilities are having trouble finding money to build plants.

    Today, the city is scheduled to announce whether it will weigh in with the state on Mr. Victor's TransGas Energy Systems application.

    But whatever happens, the discussion is likely to be lively.

    "This is not your average not-in-my-backyard situation," said Stephen K. Hindy, a member of the community board who opposes the plant. He is also the president of Brooklyn Brewery, a few blocks in from the water. "We're really talking about the future of an incredible resource for the city of New York. You're really talking about New York City's backyard."

    "The plant doesn't need to look nice to fit in with this," said Mr. Solzhenitsyn, an urban planner who works for an environmental consulting firm in New Jersey called TRC and is the son of Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel laureate and Soviet dissident.

    But TransGas Energy, which has contracted to buy the land from Bayside, promises that it will.


    The building, Mr. Victor and his consultants say, would echo the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

    Not only that, they say, the plant would burn relatively clean natural gas and recycle its waste heat to make steam to heat buildings in Manhattan. Mr. Victor, 49, who has built a 250-megawatt plant in Syracuse, said he would also remove the underground residue — mostly petroleum and coal-tar waste — from the site.

    "This is a facility," Mr. Victor said, "that cleans up the air, cleans up the soil, saves water, improves electric reliability, generates half a billion dollars in economic activity, and will save the electric and steam ratepayers in New York City tens of millions of dollar a year at the same time that it serves as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the underachieving North Brooklyn waterfront."

    Mr. Victor, who says the site he has picked out is the only practical one because of its proximity to various steam and oil pipelines, says he does not see why the power plant, a park, a museum, housing and beach volleyball courts cannot coexist.

    But few people in Williamsburg and Greenpoint seem to share that view. Most of the area's elected representatives have come out loudly against the project, and many residents have rejected the idea.

    "We don't really care how nice the galleries are," said Deborah Masters, a prominent sculptor who lives nearby. "We don't want to live next to 4,000 tons of particulate matter" — the amount the plant's opponents say the smokestack would discharge annually.

    Many locals are not excited about the prospect of 30-story apartment houses on the waterfront, either. But next door to the power plant site, a would-be rival developer, Norman A. Brodsky, hopes to be seen as the lesser evil.

    Mr. Brodsky, 60, the man with "Fight the Power" painted on his wall, owns CitiStorage, one of the biggest archiving firms in the Northeast. He said he would gladly move his holdings of two million boxes out of his waterfront warehouse if he could build apartments, and added that there is no way anyone would willingly choose to live next to a power plant, no matter how many amenities it had.

    "It would kill all waterfront housing development for the next 10 generations," he said.

    Just north of the Bayside tanks, Janice Lauletta-Weinmann dreams of building a museum about the Monitor, which was launched in 1862 from Continental Ironworks, along a tiny spur of the river called Bushwick Inlet.

    The state granted the museum a charter in 1996, but Ms. Lauletta-Weinmann has not been able to find a home for it. She was negotiating with the owner of the land that borders the inlet, Motiva Enterprises, a gasoline refiner jointly owned by Saudi Refining and the Shell Oil Company. But Motiva withdrew the offer, then withdrew another one it had extended to the Trust for Public Land, which wants to turn the land along the inlet into a park.


    There are plans to redevelop the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. One plan, for a site at North 12th Street, calls for galleries, a sculpture park — and a power plant.

  2. #2
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    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    Seems good, either an interesting power plant there or a 30 story apartment building is good for me

    I just hope the plant isn't that big

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    There are a lot better things to have there, but at least if they make it nice looking and throw in some nice additions, it makes it a little more palatable.

  4. #4

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    I live in the neighborhood and while this lot is littered with garbage, I still enjoy walking around on a nice sunny day. *I would like to see these lots turned into public parks, for all to enjoy. *Also, note that there are low rise apartment (tenement type) buildings and converted loft buildings (both about 6 stories high) right across the street where plenty of people already live. *Im sure they would NOT appreciate living across the street from a power plant.

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    There will be public parks along the waterfront in the area, just not right there. It's supposed to be an architecturally distinctive building anyway.

  6. #6

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    It does not really matter if it is going to be "architecturally distinctive." *I do not want a power plant in my neighborhood, nor does anyone else. *

    www.stopthepowerplant.org

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    That's called NIMBYism.

    The power plant is necessary. If it wasn't here, it would be somewhere near there. The planners are trying to make it the least intrusive as they can. Your concerns about toxic emissions are exaggerated, as nothing that would be known to directly harm the community would be built. Lastly, please do not debate this unless you have a better argument.

  8. #8

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    I would agree with ag that powerplant does not belong on the waterfront. There are lovely views across the Hudson and it should be residential area.

    The need for the power plant is not so straightforward. Although there is obviously a need for a power generation, putting a fossil fuel burning power plant in the middle of a densely populated area is not wise. All power plants have to be outside of the city.

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    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    Will the redevelopment even happen if the plant isn't a part of it? *If not, as long as the plant is designed responsibly around other more pedestrian and community friendly elements, it should be okay.

  10. #10

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    If the filtration system in that plant is up to modern standards, the emissions from the facility should be virtually unnoticeable. *As an example look at a number of much older, oil-burning power plants in Manhattan. *This plant will be absolutely spotless compared to those.

    As for the need for additional power, it makes little sense to build power plants outside the city, because there is a severe lack of transmission capacity to get power into the city proper. *Even a proposed new transmission line as unobtrusive as an underwater cable from Connecticut to Long Island has turned into a pitched battle, with NIMBY's claiming that the cable will "disrupt oyster beds." *Therefore, if you don't want blackouts, you need to build the plants inside the city.

    If, in fact, the facility is architecturally distinctive, I see no reason why it would destroy the neighborhood.

  11. #11

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    Thanks Edward/

  12. #12

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    It seems there are two levels to this discussion, one is how to optimally generate and deliver electric power, and the other how to do it in less than perfect circumstances. Generally speaking, I think that electricity should be produced by nuclear power plants that do not pollute the air and are located outside of cities.

    However, I understand that the City of New York has to make decisions in the face of pathetic Federal energy policy and severe lack of transmission capacity. Under these circumstances, building small gas-burning power plants could be regarded as a reasonable solution to the energy problem, but not ideal by any means. And, of course, the waterfront is not the best place to build a power plant.

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    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    I'd guess any proposed plant would use natural gas or steam as its power source. *These have much less of a pollutant impact than most other power plants. *I actually live a few long blocks away from a steam plant and I haven't been stricken with emphysema yet (although my mother's secondhand smoke may beat the plant to it).

  14. #14

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    TransGas Energy Systems seems to have spent a lot on renderings. \http://www.transgasenergy.com/tgefacility.htm

    Here's what the site looks like now.





    The following renderings illustrate the TGE facility within the context of off-site parks that have been proposed: *a possible USS Monitor museum, Olympics 2012 facility and waterfront parkland. *The renderings do not imply that TGE is funding parks on the north side of the Bushwick Inlet or south of North 12th street.






    \http://www.transgasenergy.com/parks/Aerial-Night2.jpg
    Shows how the lights on the tower change color.

    Just of the planned facility





    I like how they make the smokestack look like a highrise.



    http://www.transgasenergy.com/maps/n...Bridge_Sim.jpg

    Plenty more on the site including views from the ESB and other parts of Brooklyn.
    \http://www.transgasenergy.com/tgefacility.htm

  15. #15

    Default Brooklyn waterfront development

    I hope this gets built. *It offers possibilities for urban development that move beyond the stale paradigm of a residential playground ringing a corporate theme park. *I'd like to see more new structures that offer residents alternative forms of employment.

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