March 11, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A Williamsburg-based developer has unveiled plans for an upcoming waterfront park in Greenpoint as part of a two-tower project currently under development.
RedSky Capital, the developer, presented its plans during a community development meeting Feb. 28 organized by elected officials and the civic group North Brooklyn Neighbors.
The park will be located between India and Java Streets, directly in front of where RedSky is working to build two towers at 18 India St., currently home to a one-story warehouse. The planned towers, one 30 stories and the other 40 stories, will have approximately 700 units in total, with 25 to 30 percent set to be affordable.
The park will be open to the public, but will be owned and maintained by the developer.
As part of a 2005 rezoning resolution for the Greenpoint and Williamsburg area, all developments on the North Brooklyn waterfront must include a waterfront public access area. The waterfront areas will all eventually be connected from N 3rd Street in Williamsburg up to Commercial Street in Greenpoint. The 2005 rezoning cleared the way for RedSky to be able to construct the development as of right.
RedSky’s buildings themselves are still in the design phase. Ben Stokes, co-founder of RedSky, said the plan is to make the towers fit into the existing neighborhood landscape by having them “conform more to a townhouse-type look.” Currently, he said, a glazed green brick exterior with punched rectangular windows is being considered.
The park itself will span 220 feet along the waterfront, and will incorporate the already-existing India Street pier, currently in use by the East River Ferry system. A second pier at Java Street will be built as a lookout point with space for community members to gather.
Between the two piers will be a “get-down” area, where park-goers will be able to go down to water level by way of steps and a gradual slope.
The park’s architects hope to maximize the view of the water, and will install raised countertops with moveable stools in the get-down area, where families and community members can sit together.
A lawn on the east side of the park will provide an open green space for park-goers, where the architects envision park-goers being able to lay out on a blanket or have a picnic.
A portion of the park, however, is set to feature concrete pathways—an aspect that was questioned by attendees at the meeting.
The developer stated that this feature of the design was largely beyond their control.
“Unfortunately we have some requirements to meet with the short public walkways, but we are pushing for as much green open space as possible,” Stokes said.
To incorporate more natural elements within the park, driftwood will be used in the planters, boulders will be placed throughout the park and the pathways will have several benches and alcove seating primarily made of wood—something they would be unable to do if the park were not privately maintained.
“One of the reasons the developer will be maintaining the park is it gives a little more flexibility,” said Melanie Meyers, attorney for the developers. “As an example, the parks department generally is worried about using wood in some of the furniture because it’s a little bit more difficult to maintain.”
RedSky hopes to begin demolition of the development site in the later half of this year.
Since the park itself will be located directly next to where the towers will be going up, it will not open until the development is complete. The developer did not provide an estimated completion date.